Adil Godrej, Ph.D., P.E.
Adil Godrej has an undergraduate honors degree in Chemical Engineering, a Masters in Sanitary Engineering with an emphasis on air pollution, and a PhD in Civil Engineering with an emphasis on water pollution and hazardous waste treatment. For his PhD he spent about seven years studying the sorption characteristics of spent oil shale with regards to the uptake of organic compounds, only to discover that the price of fuel had fallen so much that everybody had gotten out of the oil shale business. It was only in the last 10 years or so, more than 20 years after he got his degree, that his PhD dissertation became an academic bestseller, due to the resurgent market for gas from shale. One never knows when something someone does is going to be of interest to others!
Since 1989, Adil has been at the Occoquan Watershed Monitoring Laboratory (OWML), a research laboratory located in Manassas, Virginia, of the Virginia Tech Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and is currently the Co-Director of OWML. His research projects have involved watershed and reservoir modeling, watershed monitoring, river input monitoring, the study of BMP performance, combined sewer overflow monitoring, the evaluation of constructed wetlands performance, tidal dye dispersion and thermal plume tracing studies, among others. As part of his outreach and advisory activities at OWML, he also provides advice and input to local, regional, and state bodies on many aspects of water quality and water quality management.
His research interests include water quality modeling, nonpoint pollution and urban runoff, management of urban/urbanizing watersheds, lake and reservoir management and restoration, and water reclamation and reuse. He enjoys working with stakeholders of all sorts, and depends upon his students to accompany him on some Fridays for a lunch and wide-ranging discussion on a variety of subjects.
His non-research interests reading and writing, etymology and language origins, tough crosswords (both standard and cryptic), music of all types, trivia, movies, pungent puns, and dark chocolate, single malts and watching cricket (preferably all three together). Like a lot of people from his home country (India), he loves a friendly argument on any subject. He tries to play his didgeridoo when he can catch a breath!
Stanley Grant came to Virginia Tech from University of California Irvine, and he will also serve as a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at VT. Grant has always been interested in nutrient pollution and transport, spending the last several years focusing on stream beds and their roles in nutrient cycling.
At UC Irvine, Grant was the Principal Investigator of the NSF-funded UCI Water-PIRE (Partnerships for International Research & Education), a program focused on research exchange between Australia and the United States. When the program was started, Australia was suffering from the Millennium Drought, and Grant was hopeful that some of Australia’s strategies for dealing with that crisis could be applicable to drought issues in southern California.
The program was extremely successful, graduating 12 PhD students and 3 post-doctoral students, all of whom are now in faculty positions. They also supported an undergraduate program where 48 students from the United States participated in a two-week field camp in Australia, followed by intense four-week period back in the States analyzing data and preparing and delivering presentations at a conference. In addition to training young scientists, the program also produced over fifty research articles, including a feature article in Science.
As the project was ending two years ago, Grant received a multi-campus Center Grant from the UC Office of the President, to apply lessons learned in Australia to southern California, using all five of the Southern UC campuses (UCI, UCLA, UCSD, UCR, and UCSB) as living laboratories for the capture and treatment of storm water runoff using green infrastructure, such as biofilters.
Last summer, after he moved to Virginia Tech, Grant and an interdisciplinary group of engineers and scientists were awarded an NSF Planning Grant to explore the idea of developing a bid for a NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) focused on global nutrient pollution. The team submitted their vision for an NSF ERC (which comes with up to $50 million over ten years to help solve “grand challenge” issues) mid-January. “It’s a moonshot, but if we’re successful, it’ll give us the chance to translate the amazing successes achieved by the Chesapeake Bay TMDL into actionable information for the rest of the country and world,” explained Grant.
At the OWML, Grant hopes to bring a fresh perspective to northern Virginia. Some of the projects the 40-year-old lab works on include drinking water in Fairfax and reusing water and recycling sewage. To prepare for his role there, Grant has been meeting with stakeholders and getting to know northern Virginia. “Virginia Tech is a great opportunity,” said Grant, “I’m excited about the connections with the team of researchers studying in the Chesapeake Bay. This is an incredible party.”