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Thomas Missimer, Ph.D., P.G. - Florida Gulf Coast University. Fort Myers, FL, US

Thomas Missimer, Ph.D., P.G.

Expert in hydrogeology and water quality | Florida Gulf Coast University


Thomas Missimer conducts research into groundwater, sedimentary geology, water resources management, and geochemistry.



Thomas Missimer, Ph.D., P.G. Publication Thomas Missimer, Ph.D., P.G. Publication Thomas Missimer, Ph.D., P.G. Publication Thomas Missimer, Ph.D., P.G. Publication



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Thomas Missimer is the executive in residence and professor in the U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University. He conducts research in hydrogeology, sedimentary geology, water resources management, and geochemistry. He currently has a project in coastal geology in Uruguay.

Areas of Expertise (9)

Injection Wells



Groundwater Contamination

Groundwater Hydrology

Water Quality

Water Policy

Florida Geology

Aquifer Storage and Recovery

Education (3)

University of Miami: Ph.D., Marine Geology and Geophysics 1997

Florida State University: M.S., Geology 1973

Franklin and Marshall College: B.A., Geology 1972

Affiliations (7)

  • Geological Society of America : Member
  • American Water Works Association : Life Member
  • National Groundwater Association : Member
  • European Desalination Association : Member
  • Groundwater : Journal Executive Editor
  • American Geophysical Union : Member
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science : Member

Selected Media Appearances (11)

Florida professor says salt water could be the key to keeping electric cars in production

ABC Action News  tv


Thomas Missimer discusses the demand for lithium.

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Experts say electric vehicles could use up 90% of lithium demand by 2030

ABC7  tv


Thomas Missimer explains the demand for lithium.

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FGCU professor and researcher break down environmental impacts of the Saharan Dust Storm

Fox 4  tv


Thomas Missimer breaks down what effects the Saharan dust storm has on the environment.

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Lee County DOT fixing drainage systems ahead of possible weekend storm

NBC2  tv


Thomas Missimer discusses the importance of stormwater improvements.

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World desalination industry is dumping 50% more toxic brine than thought

Haaretz  online


"Dry hot rock technology is already used to generate electricity, Missimer says, and adding desalination functionality to the plant wouldn’t confer extra risk, in his view."

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A carbon neutral solution for desalination? Maybe so by tapping into geothermal



Thomas Missimer discusses his work on desalination.

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We explore managed aquifer recharge systems



Thomas Missimer talks about managed aquifer recharge systems.

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‘Solar and geothermal can play a big role in desalination in Middle East’

Technical Review Middle East  


Thomas Missimer and Noreddine Ghaffour's research into standalone desalination processes are discussed.

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Harnessing solar and geothermal energy for desalination

Nature Middle East  


Thomas Missimer discusses his work on geothermal energy and desalination.

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Could desalination solve California’s water problem?

The Sacramento Bee  


Thomas Missimer talks about the seabed filter system of a desalination plant in Fukuoka, Japan.

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Water Built

Business Observer  


Thomas Missimer's experience as an entrepreneur and founder of Missimer Groundwater Science is discussed.

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Selected Event Appearances (3)

Potential mitigation of red tide impacts and associated toxins by passage through subsurface intake systems

Expert Workshop on Red Tide and HABs: Impact on Desalination Systems: Middle East Desalination Research Center  Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, February 2012

Alternative subsurface intake designs for seawater desalination facilities

Alden Research Laboratory, Massachusetts, Desalination Intake  November 4, 2008

Technical feasibility of aquifer storage and recovery: Assessment of recovery efficiency

Artificial Groundwater Recharge: A Step Towards Water Security, Kuwait Institute for Scientific for Scientific Research and Schlumberger  Kuwait City, State of Kuwait, February 15 - 16 , 2005

Research Focus (1)


Dr. Missimer is conducting research on a wide range of topics including improvement of intake systems for seawater desalination systems; investigation of raw water quality changes induced by wellfield feeding brackish-water desalination systems in Florida; groundwater quality issues in Florida, including assessments of arsenic and naturally-occurring radiation; water policy issues; aquifer storage and recovery system design and modeling; geology of Florida, and coastal geology of Uruguay, South America. He is also collaborating with Saudi Arabian scientists on various projects involving the reduction of energy use and costs of desalination including the use of geothermal energy.

Patents (2)

Processes and apparatus for inhibiting membrane biofouling

Issued by the United States Department of Commerce, United States Patent and Trademark Office as Patent No. 9457320


Missimer, T. M., Ng, K. C., and Amy, G., 2011

Geothermal energy development coupled with electric energy generation and multiple desalination processes with aquifer storage

U. S. Preliminary Patent Application No. 61947081

Missimer, T. M., Ng, K. C., Thu, K Patent pending

Businesses (3)

Founded Missimer Groundwater Science, Inc

2004 Groundwater consulting firm. Acquired by Schlumberger Limited in 2007.

Founded Missimer International, Inc

1994 Groundwater and environmental consulting company. Acquired by Camp, Dresser and McKee, Inc. in 1999.

Founded Missimer & Associates, Inc

1976 Groundwater and environmental consulting company. Became a public corporation at the end of 1991 and was later renamed ViroGroup, Inc.

Selected Articles (4)

Immature beach/dune sands along a passive continental margin: Composition, grain size and hydraulic properties of coastal sands, Parque del Plata and Las Vegas, Uruguay

The Depositional Record

Thomas M. Missimer César Goso Robert G. Maliva Michael C. Hegy


The modal composition of sandstones has long been used as a tool for palaeotectonic and palaeoenvironmental analyses. Herein it is demonstrated that caution must be used when beach sand composition is utilized to assess tectonic provenances at both the local and continental scales. The occurrence of quartz arenites and compositionally mature sands along the coast of Brazil corresponds well to their passive margin location. However, modern sands from some beach locations in coastal Uruguay are less compositionally mature compared to the quartz arenites found in coastal Brazil. Along the beaches of Las Vegas and Parque del Plata, the composition of the beach and dune sands is impacted by the transport of continental outwash sediments derived from the Palaeozoic and Precambrian rocks in the interior to the beach by a low‐gradient stream, Arroyo Solis Chico, and the erosion of Pleistocene‐age formations that crop out on the beach and along an erosional scrap. The mean beach composition ratio of monocrystalline quartz to feldspar to rock fragments plus composite quartz grains is 67.5/8.0/24.5 compared to the ratio along the coast of Brazil at 86/4/10. The beach and coastal dunes environment studied is representative of about 35% of coastal Uruguay. At the smaller scale, changes in the textural properties of the beach and dune sands (grain‐size distribution and roundness) are caused by the addition of the sediment derived from erosion and stream transport. Porosity values show little influence and range between 0.35 and 0.36, but hydraulic conductivity is influenced to a greater degree, ranging from 18.5 to 31 m/day. Within one kilometre down‐drift of the river, the mean grain diameter and the mean hydraulic conductivity increase to the same values found in the up‐gradient area before influence of the sediment flux, due to the offshore transport of the finer sediment fraction during down‐gradient movement along the beach. The Arroyo Solis Chico area demonstrates that abrupt changes in composition and hydraulic properties can occur over short distances in sands deposited in passive margin environments. The potential for this local variability in sand composition and hydraulic properties should be considered in the analyses of ancient marine sandstones deposited in beach and coastal dunes environments.

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Natural background and anthropogenic arsenic enrichment in Florida soils, surface water, and groundwater: A review with a discussion on public health risk

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Thomas Missimer, Christopher Teaf, William Beeson, Robert Maliva, John Woolschlager, Douglas Covert

2018 Florida geologic units and soils contain a wide range in concentrations of naturally-occurring arsenic. The average range of bulk rock concentrations is 1 to 13.1 mg/kg with concentrations in accessary minerals being over 1000 mg/kg. Florida soils contain natural arsenic concentrations which can exceed 10 mg/kg in some circumstances, with organic-rich soils often having the highest concentrations. Anthropogenic sources of arsenic have added about 610,000 metric tons of arsenic into the Florida environment since 1970, thereby increasing background concentrations in soils. The anthropogenic sources of arsenic in soils include: pesticides (used in Florida beginning in the 1890’s), fertilizers, chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood, soil amendments, cattle-dipping vats, chicken litter, sludges from water treatment plants, and others. The default Soil Cleanup Target Level (SCTL) in Florida for arsenic in residential soils is 2.1 mg/kg which is below some naturally-occurring background concentrations in soils and anthropogenic concentrations in agricultural soils. A review of risk considerations shows that adverse health impacts associated with exposure to arsenic is dependent on many factors and that the Florida cleanup levels are very conservative. Exposure to arsenic in soils at concentrations that exceed the Florida default cleanup level set specifically for residential environments does not necessarily pose a meaningful a priori public health risk, given important considerations such as the form of arsenic present, the route (s) of exposure, and the actual circumstances of exposure (eg, frequency, duration, and magnitude).

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Environmental issues in seawater reverse osmosis desalination: Intakes and outfalls


Thomas M Missimer, Robert G Maliva

2018 Seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination has some environmental impacts associated with the construction and operation of intake systems and the disposal of concentrate. The primary impact of conventional open-ocean intake systems is the impingement and entrainment of marine organisms. These impacts can be minimized by locating the intake in a geographic position where oceanic productivity is low. Velocity-cap intakes tend to reduce impacts by minimizing the number of fish entrained and some new traveling screens can allow the survival of some marine organisms. Mitigation, such as environmental restoration of habitat or restocking, can provide an acceptable solution to impacts where they are significant. Subsurface intake systems avoid impingement and entrainment impacts, but can cause other, less important impacts (e.g., visual, beach access). Concentrate disposal can locally impact benthic communities, if poorly diluted discharge is allowed to flow across the marine bottom. Impacts to benthic communities from concentrate discharges can be minimized by using properly-designed diffuser systems, designed and located based current and flow modeling.

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Technical review and evaluation of the economics of water desalination: Current and future challenges for better water supply sustainability


Noreddine Ghaffour, Thomas M Missimer, Gary L Amy

2013 Desalination capacity has rapidly increased in the last decade because of the increase in water demand and a significant reduction in desalination cost as a result of significant technological advances, especially in the reverse osmosis process. The cost of desalinated seawater has fallen below US$0.50/m3 for a large scale seawater reverse osmosis plant at a specific location and conditions while in other locations the cost is 50% higher (US$1.00/m3) for a similar facility. In addition to capital and operating costs, other parameters such as local incentives or subsidies may also contribute to the large difference in desalted water cost between regions and facilities. Plant suppliers and consultants have their own cost calculation methodologies, but they are confidential and provide water costs with different accuracies. The few existing costing methodologies and software packages such as WTCost© and DEEP provide an estimated cost with different accuracies and their applications are limited to specific conditions. Most of the available cost estimation tools are of the black box type, which provide few details concerning the parameters and methodologies applied for local conditions. Many desalination plants built recently have greater desalinated water delivery costs caused by special circumstances, such as plant remediation or upgrades, local variation in energy costs, and site-specific issues in raw materials costs (e.g., tariffs and transportation). Therefore, the availability of a more transparent and unique methodology for estimating the cost will help in selecting an appropriate desalination technology suitable for specific locations with consideration of all the parameters influencing the cost. A techno-economic evaluation and review of the costing aspects and the main parameters influencing the total water cost produced by different desalination technologies are herein presented in detail. Some recent developments, such as the increase of unit capacity, improvements in process design and materials, and the use of hybrid systems have contributed to cost reduction as well as reduction in energy consumption. The development of new and emerging low-energy desalination technologies, such as adsorption desalination, will have an impact on cost variation estimation in the future.

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