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Carnegie Mellon Professor Named ASCE Distinguished Member

David A. Dzombak, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, D.WRE, F.ASCE, NAE, was named a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). This is the highest honor to which a civil engineer can aspire. Dzombak, a professor and head of the department of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, is among the world’s most prominent engineers in the area of water quality engineering, energy-environment matters, and water resources sustainability. He recently led a program at Carnegie Mellon on adapting infrastructure for climate change, serving as a template for other engineering schools. He has also led the development of a Ph.D. fellowship program in U.S. Environmental Sustainability.

“ASCE is proud to present the 2019 class of Distinguished Members. Distinguished Members are the most eminent members in ASCE. The nine professionals recognized in 2019 are well-deserving of this recognition for their contribution to the civil engineering profession,” said Robin A. Kemper, P.E. “Each member has attained a level of excellence that sets the standard for their peers, paving the way for engineers of the future. These civil engineers will join the ranks of 220 other current ASCE members who have received this honor.”

Dzombak is being honored for his outstanding education, leadership and research contributions to water quality engineering, sustainable water resources and energy-environment issues. Spanning a wide set of applications, his work has addressed topics in 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; industrial waste management; abandoned mine drainage remediation; climate change adaptation for infrastructure; interbasin water transfer; and sustainability in mining.

Dzombak has served on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, the National Academies Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability, the National Academies Water Science and Technology Board, and has made significant professional service contributions with many other agencies and organizations.

Dzombak has coauthored several notable books on water and soil chemistry and treatment, including two books on surface complexation modeling which have been impactful in providing a consistent thermodynamic database for metal adsorption on hydrous metal oxides. He has published over 150 papers and book chapters and holds three patents.

In 2008, Dzombak was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for the development of models used in evaluating chemical behavior in water quality engineering and environmental remediation. Recent honors include the Gordon Maskew Fair Award from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES), the Civil Engineer of the Year Award from the ASCE Pittsburgh Section, the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP), and the ASCE Simon W. Freese Environmental Engineering Award. Dzombak is a Fellow of ASCE, AEESP and the Water Environment Federation.

Dzombak is also a member of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Society of Engineering Education, American Water Resources Association, American Water Works Association, National Civil Engineering Honor Society (Chi Epsilon), Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania, Geochemical Society, National Ground Water Association, Pittsburgh Geological Society, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and Tau Beta Pi. Dzombak has a doctoral degree in civil engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in civil engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, in addition to holding a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Saint Vincent College.

About the American Society of Civil Engineers

Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 150,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. ASCE works to raise awareness of the need to maintain and modernize the nation’s infrastructure using sustainable and resilient practices, advocates for increasing and optimizing investment in infrastructure, and improve engineering knowledge and competency. For more information, visit or