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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

Environmental Expert Available for Comment on Environmental Disasters and Sustainability

WHAT: Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan; Hurricane Sandy, affecting 24 states; BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Gulf of Mexico, affecting 16,000 miles of coastline in five states

WHO: Michel Boufadel, Ph.D., is professor of civil engineering and director of director of NJIT’s Center for Natural Resources Development and Protection. He was a member of the National Science Foundation’s Rapid Response Team of researchers studying the effects of Hurricane Sandy on New Jersey’s Raritan Bay. His research on the BP oil spill determined that, in the wake of this environmental disaster, 22,000 tons of oil reached the Gulf shoreline in five states and that 90 percent of it landed in Louisiana. He is also a member of a committee appointed by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to assess the environmental impact of spills of the heavy Canadian crude oil known as oil sand.

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Q: What can we learn from the water crisis in Flint, Michigan?

Boufadel: Our water infrastructure is aging, and we need to improve it and/or replace it.  Water utilities should always consider the state of the water not only when it leaves the water treatment plant, but how this water quality is altered as it travels through the water distribution network to reach the consumer.

Q: Regarding the Newark water issue, what are some reasonable steps that officials can take?

Boufadel: The deterioration of the water infrastructure has become severe.  For large consumers, such as schools, it might be less expensive to remove lead from the water on-site rather than taking action at the water treatment plant. 

Q: What are the top things leaders in urban centers should do to help their cities become more sustainable?

Boufadel: I am studying pollution from highway runoff and working on technology to mitigate it. Other solutions should include:

• Educating the consumer on the water cycle (drinking water, sewer waste, stormwater).

• Reducing stormwater runoff through the use of green infrastructures to percolate the water into the ground.

• Ensuring drinking water security through the creation of inexpensive redundancies, when possible. 

• Planning for natural or human-made disturbances that can disrupt water treatment plants that produce drinking water and making certain the plants can get back online relatively fast.

Dr. Boufadel discusses Superstorm Sandy’s impact to Coastline's Balance on Steve Adubato | One On One: https://youtu.be/KYJ-TORPGH8 and has other videos available through NJIT’s YouTube channel.

Dr. Boufadel can be reached: michel.boufadel@njit.edu or 973.596.5657.

One of the nation’s leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT’s multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of 11,400 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering and cybersecurity, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $121 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com. NJIT has a $1.74 billion annual economic impact on the State of New Jersey.