David A. Dzombak, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, D.WRE, F.ASCE, NAE, longtime professor and current head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, has been honored by ASCE with inclusion in its 2019 class of Distinguished Members for his outstanding education, leadership, and research contributions to water quality engineering, sustainable water resources, and energy-environment issues.
Dzombak has had a strong impact on education that expands from the classroom to the world at large. At Carnegie Mellon he spearheaded the program on the adaptation of infrastructure for climate change, which has served as a template for other schools of engineering. He also led the development of a Ph.D. fellowship program in U.S. Environmental Sustainability.
His recent professional service has included the U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board, the National Academies Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability, and the National Academies Roundtable on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Development.
He is among the world’s most prominent engineers in the area of water quality engineering, energy-environment matters, and water resources sustainability. Spanning a wide set of applications, his work has addressed topics in aquatic chemistry; fate and transport of chemicals in water, soil, and sediment; water and wastewater treatment; in situ and ex situ soil and sediment treatment; industrial waste management; abandoned mine drainage remediation; climate change adaptation for infrastructure; interbasin water transfer; and sustainability in mining.
Dzombak has coauthored several notable books on water and soil chemistry and treatment, including two books on surface complexation modeling which have been impactful in providing a consistent thermodynamic database for metal adsorption on hydrous metal oxides. He has published over 150 papers and book chapters, and holds three patents.
In 2008, Dzombak was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for the development of models used in evaluating chemical behavior in water quality engineering and environmental remediation.
Recent honors include the Gordon Maskew Fair Award from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES, 2019), the Civil Engineer of the Year Award from the ASCE Pittsburgh Section (2019), the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP, 2015), and the ASCE Simon W. Freese Environmental Engineering Award (2014). Dzombak is a Fellow of AEESP, ASCE, and the Water Environment Federation (WEF).
Besides ASCE, AAEES, AEESP, WEF, and NAE, Dzombak is a member of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Society of Engineering Education, American Water Resources Association, American Water Works Association, National Civil Engineering Honor Society (Chi Epsilon), Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania, Geochemical Society, National Ground Water Association, Pittsburgh Geological Society, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and Tau Beta Pi.
Dzombak holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1986), and obtained his B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He also holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Saint Vincent College.