Jamil Khalil Houhou

Associate professor
Life & Earth Sciences department - Section V - Nabatiyeh
Speciality: Biology
Specific Speciality: Géosciences de l'environnement

2009 - present : Associate Professor

Lebanese University - Faculty of Sciences V

2007 - 2009 : Assistant professor (ATER)

Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine

Teaching 8 Taught Courses
(2014-2015) Biol 114 - Organization of the plant living world and environment

BS Earth and life sciences

(2014-2015) Biol 114 - Organization of the plant living world and environment

BS Earth and life sciences

(2014-2015) Biol 243 - Kingdom of Higher Plants (Vegetative structures) Lab

BS Earth and life sciences

(2014-2015) Biol 246 - Kingdom of higher plants (reproductive structures) Lab

BS Earth and life sciences

(2014-2015) Biol 320 - Vegetal Physiology

BS Earth and life sciences

(2014-2015) Biol 340 - Vegetal Physiology Lab

BS Earth and life sciences

(2014-2015) Biol 340 - Vegetal Physiology Lab

BS Earth and life sciences

(2014-2015) Biol 326 - General Ecology

BS Earth and life sciences

2004 - 2008: PhD

INPL - Lorraine University
Environmental Geosciences

2003 - 2004: Master

Faculty of Pharmacy - Lorraine University
Microbiology of water

1999 - 2003: Bachelor

Faculty of Sciences I - Lebanese University


Publications 4 publications
R. El Khatib, B.S. Lartiges, A. El samrani, P. Faure, J. Houhou, J. Ghanbaja Speciation of organic matter and heavy metal in urban wastewater from an emerging country Springer 2012

Analytical scanning and transmission electron microscopy, sequential chemical extraction, and pyrolysis–gas chromatography on solvent-extractable organic matter are used to provide both direct and indirect speciation of heavy metals and organic matter in sewage-suspended solids and in biofilms taken from an urban sewer in an emerging country. Compared to developed countries where the domestic activities represent the main source of heavy metal pollution in wastewater, the combined sewer system of an emerging country also integrates significant contributions originating from the private drinking water supply system (Zn, Cu, Cr, and Ni), industrial discharges (Cu, Mn), and road dust transported by street washing (Pb). The relative importance of those sources changes drastically over time as evidenced by the difference in metal levels recorded between weekday and weekend effluents. Nevertheless, sewer biofilms are found to provide a good averaging of contaminant loads and they can be used as environmental archives. The speciation study reveals the predominance of neoformed minerals such as sulfides and phosphates and highlights the strong biogeochemical dynamics that takes place within the sewer system. Electron microscope observations of heavy metal-bearing phases proved to be necessary to provide a consistent interpretation of chemical extraction results. The molecular characterization of the solvent-extractable organic matter from biofilms reveals the presence of classical fingerprints of domestic activity such as fecal sterols and detergents but also confirms a major contribution of petroleum by-products consistent with a traffic-related pollution.

J. Houhou, B.S. Lartiges, C. France-Lanord, C. Guilmette, S. Poix, C. Mustin Isotopic tracing of clear water sources in an urban sewer: a combined water and dissolved sulfate stable isotope approach Elsevier 2010

This paper investigates the potential of stable isotopes of both water (deltaD and deltaOH(2)O18) and dissolved sulfate (delta(34)S and deltaOSO(4)18) for determining the origin and the amount of clear waters entering an urban sewer. The dynamics of various hydrological processes that commonly occur within the sewer system such as groundwater infiltration, rainwater percolation, or stormwater release from retention basins, can be readily described using water isotope ratios. In particular, stable water isotopes indicate that the relative volumes of infiltrated groundwater and sewage remain approximately constant and independent of wastewater flow rate during the day, thus demonstrating that the usual quantification of parasitic discharge from minimal nocturnal flow measurements can lead to completely erroneous results. The isotopic signature of dissolved sulfate can also provide valuable information about the nature of water inputs to the sewage flow, but could not be used in our case to quantify the infiltrating water. Indeed, even though the microbial activity had a limited effect on the isotopic composition of dissolved sulfate at the sampling sites investigated, the dissolved sulfate concentration in sewage was regulated by the formation of barite and calcium-phosphate mineral species. Sulfate originating from urine was also detected as a source using the oxygen isotopic composition of sulfate, which suggests that deltaOSO(4)18 might find use as a urine tracer.

J. Houhou, B.S. Lartiges, E. Montarges-Pelletier, J. Ghanbaja, A. Kohler Sources, nature, and fate of heavy metal-bearing particles in the sewer system Elsevier 2009

A preliminary insight into metal cycling within the urban sewer was obtained by determining both the heavy metal concentrations (Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd, Ni, Cr) in sewage and sediments, and the nature of metal-bearing particles using TEM–EDX, SEM–EDX and XRD. Particles collected from tap water, sump-pit deposits, and washbasin siphons, were also examined to trace back the origin of some mineral species. The results show that the total levels in Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni, and Cr in sewage are similar to that reported in the literature, thus suggesting that a time-averaged heavy metal fingerprint of domestic sewage can be defined for most developed cities at the urban catchment scale. Household activities represent the main source of Zn and Pb, the water supply system is a significant source of Cu, and in our case, groundwater infiltration in the sewer system provides a supplementary source of Ni and Cd. Concentrations in heavy metals were much higher in sewer sediments than in sewage suspended solids, the enrichment being due to the preferential settling of metal-bearing particles of high density and/or the precipitation of neoformed mineral phases. TEM and SEM–EDX analyses indicated that suspended solids, biofilms, and sewer sediments contained similar heavy metal-bearing particles including alloys and metal fragments, oxidized metals and sulfides. Copper fragments, metal carbonates (Cu, Zn, Pb), and oxidized soldering materials are released from the erosion of domestic plumbing, whereas the precipitation of sulfides and the sulfurization of metal phases occur primarily within the household connections to the sewer trunk. Close examination of sulfide phases also revealed in most cases a complex growth history recorded in the texture of particles, which likely reflects changes in physicochemical conditions associated with successive resuspension and settling of particles within the sewer system.

J. Houhou, B.S. Lartiges, A. Hofmann, G. Frappier, J. Ghanbaja, A. Temgoua Phosphate dynamics in an urban sewer: a case study of Nancy, France Elsevier 2009

The nature of phosphate phases present in suspended matter, biofilm, and sediment of Greater Nancy sewer system was investigated over a period of two years. The phosphate speciation was determined by two approaches: a direct identification of phosphorus mineral phases was conducted by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDXS), whereas a chemical extraction of samples provided an estimate of phosphorus pools defined by the fractionation scheme. Quantitative analysis of 1340 individual particles by TEM–EDXS allowed to draw a picture of phosphate species distributions along the sewer system and over time. Amorphous Ca–phosphates (brushite, whitlockite, octacalcium phosphate, Mg-brushite, hydroxyapatite and carbapatite) were ubiquitous although brushite dominated upstream, and octacalcium phosphate and apatite prevailed downstream and in sediments. Al–Ca–phosphate minerals such as foggite, bearthite, gatumbaite, and crandallite appeared downstream and in biofilms. Ca–phosphate phase assemblages in the different locations of the sewer system were dependent on phase transformations from brushite to hydroxyapatite that were shown to be kinetically driven. The restriction of Al–Ca–phosphates to downstream of the sewer system was most probably related to the lower pHs measured at these sites. The pH dependency was confirmed by stability calculations. Chemical extractions were not reliable. TEM examination of extraction residues revealed the presence of neoformed Al–Ca–phosphate species that invalidated the fractionation scheme. Nonetheless, it confirmed that phosphate phases may undergo significant geochemical changes over a short time scale.


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