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Dr Joanne Mac Mahon


Dr Joanne Mac Mahon is a Lecturer in Environmental Engineering at University College Cork. She holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering from Trinity College Dublin and an MSc in Development Studies from UCD. She has worked as a Research Fellow at TCD on EPA and SFI funded projects and as a Senior Postdoctoral Researcher at MaREI on the Creative Climate Action Fund. In addition to her research career, Joanne previously worked as a chemical engineer in the pharmaceutical sector and as a development and humanitarian professional for international NGOs and the United Nations.

Research Interests

  • Sustainable and climate resilient water and wastewater treatment systems in developed and developing countries.
  • Optimisation of decentralised water and wastewater treatment systems, including onsite domestic wastewater systems in Ireland (i.e. septic tanks and packaged treatment systems).
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation, including the impacts of creative, cultural and arts based interventions on people’s attitudes, perceptions and behaviours in relation to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Sustainable development and the integration of the Sustainable Development Goals in research.
  • Wastewater-based epidemiology for SARS-CoV-2 for the detection and quantification of disease outbreaks in urban areas using wastewater sampling.


Selected Publications


Mac Mahon, J. (2022). Water purity and sustainable water treatment systems for developing countries. In Water and Climate Change (pp. 115-144). Elsevier.


Mac Mahon, J., Knappe, J., & Gill, L. W. (2022). Sludge accumulation rates in septic tanks used as part of the on-site treatment of domestic wastewater in a northern maritime temperate climate. Journal of Environmental Management304, 114199.


Mac Mahon, J., Criado Monleon, A. J., Gill, L. W., O'Sullivan, J. J., & Meijer, W. G. (2022). Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) for SARS-CoV-2–A review focussing on the significance of the sewer network using a Dublin city catchment case study. Water Science and Technology.


Mac Mahon, J., & Gill, L. W. (2018). Sustainability of novel water treatment technologies in developing countries: Lessons learned from research trials on a pilot continuous flow solar water disinfection system in rural Kenya. Development Engineering3, 47-59.


Mac Mahon, J., Pillai, S. C., Kelly, J. M., & Gill, L. W. (2017). Solar photocatalytic disinfection of E. coli and bacteriophages MS2, ΦX174 and PR772 using TiO2, ZnO and ruthenium based complexes in a continuous flow system. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology170, 79-90.

Teaching Activity

CE4010 Water and Wastewater Treatment

CE5011 Environmental Engineering (Wet)

CE6050 Applied Research Methods in Sustainability in Enterprise



Joanne Mac Mahon

Contact Details:


Lecturer in Environmental Engineering



Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Innealtóireacht Shibhialta agus Timpeallachta

University College Cork, Cork