David Dzombak, P.E.-Civil and Environmental Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

David Dzombak, P.E.

Hamerschlag University Professor and Department Head, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil & Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Office: 119D
Phone: 412-268-2946
Fax: 412-268-7813


David Dzombak is the Hamerschlag University Professor and Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. The emphasis of his research and teaching is on water quality engineering, environmental restoration, and energy-environment issues. His current research, all of which is being conducted collaboratively, is focused on climate change adaptation for infrastructure, forecasting the sustainability of water supplies, recovery of rare earth elements from brines, and the use of low-grade heat for membrane treatment processes for wastewater management and reclamation in power production.

Dzombak serves on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, the U.S. Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Science Advisory Board, the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Research Council, and the Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainable of the National Academies. He received his PhD in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986. He also holds an MS in Civil Engineering (1981) and BS in Civil Engineering (1980) from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BA in Mathematics from Saint Vincent College (1980).  He is a registered Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania, a Board Certified Environmental Engineer by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

(Full Bio - pdf)

Research Group: EESS 
Research Centers: SEERScott Institute

Google Scholar


PhD 1986 - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MS 1981 - Carnegie Mellon University
BS 1980 - Carnegie Mellon University
BA 1980 - Saint Vincent College

Areas of Interest

  • 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
  • Abandoned mine drainage remediation
  • Hazardous waste site remediation
  • River and watershed restoration
  • Energy and environment
  • Population and environment
  • Public communication of environmental engineering and science

Selected Publications

  • Hussain, D., Dzombak, D.A., Jaramillo, P., and Lowry, G.V. (2013), "Comparative Lifecycle Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Enhanced Oil Recovery Methods Using Different CO2 Sources,International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 16:129-144.
  • Choudhury, M.R., Hsieh, M.K., Vidic, R.D., and Dzombak, D.A. (2012), "Development of an Instantaneous Corrosion Rate Monitoring System for Metal and Metal Alloys in Recirculating Cooling Systems," Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 51:4230-4239.
  • Dzombak, D.A. (2011), "Nutrient Control in Large-Scale U.S. Watersheds:  The Chesapeake Bay and Northern Gulf of Mexico,"The Bridge, 41(4):13-22.
  • Gregory, K.B., Vidic, R.D., and Dzombak, D.A. (2011), "Water Management Challenges in Development of Shale Gas with Hydraulic Fracturing," Elements, 7(3):181-186.
  • Li, H., Chien, S.H., Hsieh, M.K., Dzombak, D.A. and Vidic, R.V. (2011), "Escalating Water Demands for Energy Production and Potential for Use of Treated Municipal Wastewater," Environmental Science & Technology, 45:4195-4200.
  • Griffith, C.A., Dzombak, D.A. and Lowry, G.V. (2011), "Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Potential Seal Strata in Regions Considered for Demonstrating Geological Saline CO2 Sequestration,"Environmental Earth Sciences, 64(4):925-948.
  • Karamalidis, A. and Dzombak, D.A. (2010), Surface Complexation Modeling:  Gibbsite, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Professional Service

  • EPA Science Advisory Board (2002-present)
  • Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Science Advisory Board (2013-present)
  • National Academies Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability (2013-present)
  • National Research Council (various committees - 2002-present)
  • Editorial Advisory Board - Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering (2012-present)
  • Chair, Board of Directors - AEESP Foundation (2012-2014)
  • Associate Editor - Environmental Science & Technology (2005-2012)

Recent Awards

  • 2014: received the Simon W. Freese Environmental Engineering Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • 2013: received with University of Pittsburgh Professor Radisav D. Vidic the 2013 Grand Prize in the University Research category of the American Academy of Environmental Scientists and Engineers' Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science competition for a project titled "Use of Treated Municipal Wastewater as Power Plant Cooling System Makeup Water"
  • 2013: named a fellow of Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP)
  • 2012: named a fellow of the Water Environment Federation (WEF) for exceptional accomplishments in the field of water quality
  • 2010: named the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) Distinguished Lecturer for the 2010-2011 academic year
  • 2010: awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Saint Vincent College
  • 2008: elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE)