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 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 by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, 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


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, in press.

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, in press.

Noack, C.S., Dzombak, D.A., and Karamalidis, A.K. (2015), “Determination of Rare Earth Elements in Hypersaline Solutions using Low-Volume, Liquid-Liquid Extraction,” Environmental Science & Technology, 49:9423-9430

Ashoori, N., Dzombak, D.A. and Small, M.J. (2015), “Sustainability Review of Water Supply Options in the Los Angeles Region,” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 141(12): A4015005.

Wang, H., Small, M.J., and Dzombak, D.A. (2014), “Factors Governing Change in Water Withdrawals for U.S. Industrial Sectors from 1997 to 2002,” Environmental Science & Technology, 48:3420-34.

Liu, W., Chien, S.H., Dzombak, D.A, and Vidic. R, D. (2014), “Scaling Control for Heat Exchangers in Recirculating Cooling Systems Using Tertiary-treated Municipal Wastewater,” Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 53:16366-16373.

Noack, C.S., Dzombak, D.A., and Karamalidis, A.K. (2014), “Rare Earth Element Distributions and Trends in Natural Waters with a Focus on Groundwater,” Environmental Science & Technology, 48(8):4317-4326.

Professional Service

  • 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)
  • Associate Editor, Environmental Science & Technology (2005-2012)

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.