Keeping it Clean: Water Research at Newark College of Engineering

Michel Boufadel, professor of civil and environmental engineering directs NJIT's Center for Natural Resources Development and Protection

An expert in minimally intrusive techniques for dealing with contamination, and a notable voice in the investigation of extraction of energy, Michel Boufadel, professor of civil and environmental engineering directs NJIT’s Center for Natural Resources Development and Protection which is playing an important role in the stewardship of the Jersey shoreline post-Sandy. 

Dr. Boufadel has grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Canadian government, and non-profit organizations, to study the transformation and biodegradation of oil spilled in the environment. He is also co-author of new expert report issued by the National Research Council on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the ecosystem services in the Gulf of Mexico.

Liping WeiLiping Wei (left), assistant professor of chemistry and environmental science, leads a team that is studying brown tide blooms in New Jersey coastal waters, one of the most harmful algal blooms for the marine ecosystem and commercial fishing. One study looked at the effects of pollutants – heavy metals, herbicides, and sewage – on the algae’s growth potential and found that manmade toxins did not significantly alter its survival. Other studies tested hydrogen peroxide and the herbicide metolachlor on brown tide blooms and found possibilities for controlling the blooms. From the left, doctoral student Megha Thakkar, Bin Wang (PhD ’11), Wei, and Varunpreet Randhawa (PhD ’13).

Kamalesh SirkarDistinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering Kamalesh Sirkar (right) has a grant from the Bureau of Reclamation of the U.S. Department of the Interior for water purification and desalination. Reclamation is the largest wholesaler of water in the country, bringing water to 31 million people and irrigation to 10 million acres of farmland. The new project  is testing a more compact Direct Contact Membrane Distillation (DCMD) module, which will save energy and lower costs. Current DCMD modules have large footprints. This new compact module, being developed in partnership with Applied Membrane Technology, Inc., in Minnesota, will make it easier to design larger plants with smaller footprints. He also delivered a plenary lecture on Membrane Gas Separation: Membrane Contactors, Novel Membranes and Processes at SIMPAM 2013 in Rio De Janeiro.

NJIT Presents a Class in Advances in Stormwater Management

“Advances in Storm Water Management”

Seminar by Thomas J. Olenik, NJIT associate professor of civil and environmental engineering
New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers
Day of Continuing Education, September 18-19
For more information:

Wen ZhangWen Zhang (left), assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, focuses his research on the environmental implications and applications of engineered nanomaterials. He is currently collaborating with researchers at Georgia Tech on an NSF-funded project to develop methods for quantifying the physicochemical properties of engineered nanoparticulates and their local-scale biological effects. The goal is utilize atomic force microscopy to establish scanning probe approaches that can quantify the local-scale surface physicochemical properties during interactions between nanoparticles and biological systems, such as cells and DNA molecules, in order to explore the toxic effects of engineering nanomaterials.

Hsin Hseih, Taha MarhabaHsin-Neng Hsieh (right, pointing), professor of civil and environmental engineering, partners with department chair Taha Marhaba in leading a research group that is investigated the impact of the Vessel General Permit (VGP) issued by the US EPA under the Clean Water Act. Designed for managing vessel discharges, the VGP was first issued in 2008 and replaced in 2013 with more stringent limitations for ballast water. The VGP has potentially serious consequences for commercial vessels operating in the New York/New Jersey Harbor and at the Delaware River, both in terms of cost and operation, since the infrastructure for compliance – onboard graywater treatment facility or holding tank; onshore ballast water storage and treatment facilities – may not currently exist. The team, (l-r) Aliasghar Ghadimkhani, doctoral student; Kunzang Kazi, chemical engineering major; Hsieh; and Marhaba, will develop recommendations for New Jersey Department of Transportation, as to what the state needs to do to make compliance possible.