Carnegie Mellon University

David Dzombak, P.E.

David Dzombak, P.E. (E 1980, 1981)

Hamerschlag University Professor and Department Head, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil & Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue, PH 119D
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890


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, water resource sustainability, and energy-environment issues. His current research is focused on climate change adaptation for infrastructure, interbasin water transfer in the U.S., recovery of rare earth elements from brines, and sustainable mining of metals.

Dzombak serves on the National Academies Water Science and Technology Board, the National Academies Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability, and the National Academies Roundtable on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Development.  He is a registered Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania, a Board Certified Environmental Engineer, a Diplomate Water Resources Engineer, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

(Full Bio - pdf)


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


Research Group: EESS 
Research Centers: SEERScott Institute, CERCA

  • Aquatic chemistry
  • Fate and transport of chemicals in water, soil, and sediment
  • Water and wastewater treatment
  • Abandoned mine drainage remediation
  • Industrial waste management
  • Climate change adaptation for infrastructure
  • Water resource sustainability
  • Energy and environment
  • Population and environment
  • Public communication of environmental engineering and science


Gorman, M.R. and Dzombak, D.A. (2018), “A Review of Sustainable Mining and Resource Management:  Transitioning from the Life Cycle of the Mine to the Life Cycle of the Mineral,” Resources, Conservation & Recycling, 137:281-291.

Callura, J.C., Perkins, K.M., Noack, C.W., Washburn, N.R., Dzombak, D.A., and Karamalidis, A.K. (2018), “Selective Adsorption of Rare Earth Elements onto Functionalized Silica Particles,” Green Chemistry, 20:1515-1565.

Dickson, K.E. and Dzombak, D.A. (2017), “Inventory of Interbasin Transfers in the United States,” Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 53(5): 1121-1135.

Ashoori, N., Dzombak, D.A., and Small, M.J. (2017), “Identifying Water Price and Population Criteria for Meeting Future Urban Water Demand Targets,” Journal of Hydrology, 555: 547-556.

Ashoori, N., Dzombak, D.A., and Small, M.J. (2016), “Modeling the Effects of Conservation, Demographics, Price and Climate on Urban Water Demand in Los Angeles, California,” Water Resources Management, 30:5247-5262. 

Noack, C.W., Perkins, K., Callura, J., Washburn, N. Dzombak, D.A., and Karamalidis, A.K. (2016), “Effects of Ligand Chemistry and Geometry on Rare Earth Element Partitioning from Saline Solutions to Functionalized Adsorbents,” ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 4(11):6115-6124.  

Carroll, S., Carey, J.W., Dzombak, D.A., Huerta, N.J., Li, L., Richard, T., Um, W., Walsh, D.C., and Zhang, L. (2016), “Review:  Role of Chemistry, Mechanics and Transport on Well Integrity in CO2 Storage Environments,” International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 49:149-160.

Parthasarathy, H., Liu, H., Dzombak, D.A., and Karamalidis, A.K. (2016), “The Effect of Na-Ca-Cl Brines on the Dissolution of Arsenic from Arsenopyrite Under Geologic Storage Conditions,” Chemical Geology, 428:1-7.

Professional Service

  • National Academies Water Science and Technology Board (2014-present)
  • EPA Science Advisory Board (2002-2016)
  • Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Science Advisory Board (2013-2016)
  • National Academies Roundtable on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Development (2015-present)
  • National Academies Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability (2013-present)
  • Editorial Advisory Board, Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering (2012-2016)
  • Chair, Board of Directors, AEESP Foundation (2012-2014)

Recent Awards

  • 2015: received a Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP)
  • 2014: received the Simon W. Freese Environmental Engineering Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • 2013: received (with collaborators) the Grand Prize in the University Research category of the AAEES Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science competition, for project on "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)

Dave Dzombak: Water Quality & Resources: The Intersection of Water & Energy

Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Head Dave Dzombak discusses his work in water quality and water resources and the intersection of water and energy.