Melinda L Erickson, Ph.D.


Dr. Mindy Erickson is a hydrologist in the Minnesota Water Science Center. She is also an adjunct associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Department of Soil, Water, and Climate, and a faculty member of the Water Resources Science Graduate program. Prior to joining USGS in March 2009, Mindy worked for a local environmental consulting company and in several Minnesota state agencies, most recently as an environmental research scientist with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Mindy has BS and MS degrees in Geological/Civil Engineering, and a PhD in Water Resources Science, all from the University of Minnesota. Mindy’s primary research interests are the geochemistry, fate, and transport of metals (e.g., arsenic, iron, manganese) and organic chemicals (e.g., petroleum products, endocrine active chemicals, and pharmaceuticals) n groundwater systems in the upper Midwest.

Professional Experience

University of Minnesota Departments of Soil, Water and Climate; Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering; Water Resources Science

2017 - present, Adjunct Associate Professor

2007 – 2017, Adjunct Assistant Professor

  • Participate in graduate student examining committees. 
  • Conduct interdisciplinary environmental research with U of MN faculty and others. 

U.S. Geological Survey Minnesota Water Science Center, March 2009 – present, Hydrologist (Groundwater Specialist through 2016)

  • Glacial Principal Aquifer Analyst, National Water Quality Program (NAWQA)
    • lead development of statistical models and maps of natural consitituents (redox, arsenic, manganese) across the glacial aquifer system
    • facilitate NAWQA groundwater sampling within the glacial aquifer system
    • Lead point of contact for questions related to NAWQA work in the glacial aquifer system
  • Conduct interdisciplinary environmental research.  Current projects include:
    • regional differences in arsenic concentrations in Minnesota groundwater (MDH)
    • groundwater/surface water interactions in the NE Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (Met Council)
    • fate and transport of contaminants of emerging concern (e.g., endocrine active compounds, pharmaceuticals, personal care products) into shallow, vulnerable aquifers (MPCA)

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, October 2006 – March 2009, Environmental Research Scientist

  • Lead MPCA’s ambient ground water monitoring program, including developing monitoring strategy and design, conducting appropriate data analysis, and reporting results
  • Conduct interdisciplinary environmental research. 

Minnesota Department of Transportation, January 2005 – October 2006, Senior Research Analyst/GIS Specialist

  • Developed, lead, executed, documented, and reported complex technical studies for a wide range of transportation projects using appropriate engineering software tools
  • Lead GIS group within the Section, including delegating, facilitating, and performing GIS tasks
  • Presented technical results to a wide variety of audiences

Minnesota Department of Health, 1998 – 2000, Hydrologist

Completed, with project team members, a multidisciplinary research project related to elevated levels of naturally-occurring arsenic in Minnesota groundwater (Minnesota Arsenic Study, or MARS)

RETEC, 1993 – 1997, Project Manager/Project Engineer

  • Managed projects, including monitoring and adhering to budget and schedule, staffing, subcontractor selection and contracting, and client interaction
  • Performed hydrogeologic and geologic data analysis
  • Prepared remediation designs, including volume calculations, slope stability analysis, surface water runoff management, compliance sampling design, and technical reports
  • Observed, directed, and documented on-site remediation work conducted by subcontractors
  • Interviewed and assisted in hiring decisions regarding new staff; mentored staff


Ph.D., Water Resources Science (Dissertation Title: Arsenic in Upper Midwest Groundwater: Occurrence and Geochemical Mobilization Mechanisms), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, May 2005

M.S., Civil Engineering (Thesis Title: Control Equation Formulation for Circular Inhomogeneities in the Analytic Element Method), University of Minnesota, 1992

Bachelor of Geological Engineering (Environmental emphasis), University of Minnesota, 1990

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Jones, P.M., Roth, J.L., Trost, J.J., Christenson, C.A., Diekoff, A.L., and Erickson, M.L., 2017, Simulation and assessment of groundwater flow and groundwater and surface-water exchanges in lakes in the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, Minnesota, 2003 through 2013: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5139–B, 88 p.,

Nicholas SL, Erickson ML, Woodruff LG, Knaeble AR, Marcus MA, Lynch JK, Toner BM. 2017. Solid-phase arsenic speciation in aquifer sediments: a micro-X-ray absorption spectroscopy approach for quantifying trace-level speciation. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, in-press. Online 19 May 2017 [Link

Jones, P.M., Trost, J.J., Diekoff, A.L., Rosenberry, D.O., White, E.A., Erickson, M.L., Morel, D.L., and Heck, J.M., 2016, Statistical analysis of lake levels and field study of groundwater and surface-water exchanges in the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, Minnesota, 2002 through 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5139–A, 86 p., [Link] Winner, USGS Best Groundwater Report of 2016

Bekins, Barbara A., Isabelle M. Cozzarelli, Melinda L. Erickson, Ross A. Steenson, and Kevin A. Thorn (2016) Crude Oil Metabolites in Groundwater at Two Spill Sites, Groundwater [Link]

Cozzarelli, IM, Schreiber, ME, Erickson, ML, and Ziegler, BA, 2015, Arsenic cycling in hydrocarbon plumes: Secondary effects of natural attenuation, Groundwater, Article first published online: 21 JAN 2015, DOI: 10.1111/gwat.12316 [Link]

Erickson, M.L., Langer, S.K., Roth, J.L., and Kroening, S.E., 2014, Contaminants of emerging concern in ambient groundwater in urbanized areas of Minnesota, 2009–12: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5096, 38 p., with appendix,[Link]

Elliott, S.M., and Erickson, M.L., 2014, Pharmaceutical compounds in shallow groundwater in non-agricultural areas of Minnesota—Study design, methods, and data, 2013: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 878, 11 p., [Link]

Trost, J.J., Kiesling, R.L., Erickson, M.L., Rose, P.J., and Elliott, S.M., 2013, Land-cover effects on the fate and transport of surface-applied antibiotics and 17-beta-estradiol on a sandy outwash plain, Anoka County, Minnesota, 2008–09: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2013–5202, 51 p.,[Link]

Erickson, Melinda L., (2012) Steroidal hormones and other endocrine active compounds in shallow groundwater in nonagricultural areas of Minnesota—Study design, methods, and data, 2009–10, USGS Data Series: 663 [Link]

Toner, Brandy M., Sarah L. Nicholas, Lindsey J. Briscoe, Alan R. Knaeble, James A. Berg, and Melinda L. Erickson (2011) Natural Sources of Arsenic in Minnesota Groundwater. CURA Reporter, 41 (3-4), pp 3-10. University of Minnesota. [Link]

Erickson, M.L. and R.J. Barnes (2005) Well Characteristics Influencing Arsenic Concentrations in Ground Water. Water Research (39:16) pp 4029-4039 [Link]

Erickson, M.L. and R.J. Barnes. (2005). Glacial Sediment Causing Regional-Scale Elevated Arsenic in Drinking Water. Ground Water 43(6) pp 796-805. [Link]

Erickson, M.L. and R.J. Barnes. (2006). Arsenic Concentration Variability in Public Water System Wells in Minnesota, USA. Applied Geochemistry. (21:2) pp 305–317 [Link]

Erickson, M.L. (2005) Arsenic in Upper Midwest Ground Water: Occurrence and Geochemical Mobilization Mechanisms. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Minnesota , Minneapolis , MN