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Reckhow to Deliver Distinguished Faculty Lecture on February 8

David Reckhow

David Reckhow

Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Professor David Reckhow, who is the director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Innovation Network for Sustainable Small Systems (WINSSS), will present the next University of Massachusetts Amherst Distinguished Faculty Lecture on Wednesday, February 8, at 4:00 p.m. The title of his lecture is “Drinking Water in Crisis: Lead, Lignin, and Legionella.” Reckhow’s lecture will take place in the Bernie Dallas Room of the Goodell Building, is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception. After the lecture, Reckhow will be presented with the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest recognition bestowed to faculty by the campus. See Event website.

“This lecture will review the current state of knowledge on lead in drinking water and on another critical issue, the presence of carcinogenic disinfection by-products,” says Reckhow.  

Reckhow explains that “As events continue to unfold in Flint, Michigan, the nation is more than ever focused on the quality of its drinking water. Environmental engineers have long recognized lead exposure as a significant public health crisis; now there may be strong enough public support to do something about it. However, lead is not the only challenge to public health that the U.S. drinking water sector faces.

His talk will include aspects of engineering, chemistry, public health, social justice, and public policy. It will prominently feature work being done in the UMass Amherst environmental engineering research labs. In addition, Reckhow will suggest how we might solve pressing water issues and how water will need to be carefully managed in the world’s growing megacities.

Reckhow’s experience includes a deep and wide background in water research. His US EPA Small Systems Center - WINSSS, established in 2014, brings together a national team of experts to transform drinking water treatment for small water systems to meet the urgent need for state-of-the-art innovation, development, demonstration, and implementation of treatment, information, and process technologies in part by leveraging existing relationships with industry through the Massachusetts Water Cluster. The mission of WINSSS is to build a national center that spans and links the continuum of technology acceptance for small water systems.

In addition to directing the WINSSS center, Reckhow is head of the Innovative Treatment Technologies research group, which assesses various emerging technologies for treatment of water and wastewater. The objective of this group of projects is to assess the effectiveness and underlying mechanisms for a wide range of innovative technologies developed by entrepreneurs in New England and around the world. The applications include treatment of potable water as well as cooling water and water reuse.

Reckhow is also a visiting professor in the chemistry department at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, and was a visiting professor at Northeast Dianli University in Jilin, China, in 2012. Reckhow has been on the UMass Amherst faculty since 1985. He served as interim head of the CEE department from 2007-08. From 2002 to 2005, he served as director of the Environmental Institute on the Amherst Campus, as well as the Massachusetts Water Resources Research Center. Prior to coming to UMass, he was a post-doctoral research associate with the Compagnie Générale des Eaux in Paris.

Reckhow has been the principal investigator (PI) on nearly $13 million in sponsored research and the co-PI on more than $9 million for other studies. In addition to the $4.1 million competitive award from the EPA to establish the National Drinking Water Center, he has received grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Water Research Foundation, U.S. Air Force, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. He is also the author of 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and has presented his research at nearly 200 international and national conferences.

Reckhow has degrees from Tufts University (BSCE), Stanford University (MSCE), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (PhD).

Aside from his academic career, Dr. Reckhow served for 15 years as a member and chair of the Northampton Board of Public Works, with responsibility for managing the city’s water system. (February 2017)