Water Environment Expert Charles Button Dies

March 24, 2015

Button_Charles_2Charles Button, P.E., M.ASCE, credited for his instrumental role in the modernization of the Boston region’s public drinking-water system, died March 13. He was 70.

Mr. Button was the founder and president of Freshwater Consulting. In his 45-year career as a professional engineer, he served as Chief Engineer and Deputy Chief Operating Officer for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Chief Engineer of the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, and Chief Engineer for the Hartford Metropolitan District Commission. He played a critical role in the construction of the Boston Harbor Project and Combined Sewer Overflow Program.

Appointed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Button also served as Boston Conservation Commission Chair for more than a decade. He was a member of the Board of Overseers of the Boston Museum of Science, a Past President of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers (2001), a Past Member of the New England Chapter–APWA Board of Directors, and an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Water Environment Federation, the New England Water Environment Association, and the Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers, as well as a Life Member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, a Life Member of the Massachusetts Society of Professional Engineers, and a member of the  Boston Harbor Association, the Charles River Watershed Association, and Save the Harbor / Save the Bay.

During his lifetime of public service, he received numerous citations from the U.S. Congress, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Boston, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. He also received the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s “A” for Exceptional Action on Behalf of the Living Environment award, the Massachusetts Society of Professional Engineers’ Young Engineer of the Year Award in 1980, and the American Public Works Association’s “Professional Manager of the Year” Award in 2011.

Button earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Tufts University, a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Connecticut, and was a Licensed Professional Engineer in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

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