Three NJIT Professors Have Expertise on Water Quality and the Drought

NEWARK, April 15--New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has three engineers whose combined knowledge about water quality and the drought is unparalleled.

Water Quality Expert

Taha F. Marhaba, Ph.D., is associate professor of environmental engineering and director of the New Jersey Applied Water Research Center at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

Marhaba has an expertise in water quality and most notably has developed what is known as the spectral fluorescent signatures (SFS) technique. The technique is used to rapidly identify organics in water--organics that could be problematic. The SFS acts like a fingerprint of water, characterizing its organic content and allowing researchers to see if the water contains natural or unnatural sources. Most importantly, the SFS allows researchers to determine the organic character of watersheds and to check the water quality.

Marhaba also has an expertise in droughts, and has been one of New Jersey's leading commentators on the consequences of the current drought.

Marhaba's work has been published in Water Research, Journal of Environmental Engineering, Journal of Hazardous Materials and elsewhere. Prior to joining NJIT in 1995, he was associated with environmental consulting at Stone & Webster Engineering Corp. He has a doctorate and a master's degree in environmental engineering and a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

Water Treatment Researcher

Hsin-Neng Hsieh, Ph.D., is professor of civil and environmental engineering and associate chair of the department at NJIT.

His current research includes analyzing the low-cost treatment of municipal wastewater; treatment of industrial sludge and the impact of combined sewer overflow on water quality.

Combined sewer overflow relates to older cities, such as Newark, whose pipes handle both storm water and residential wastewater. The two kinds of water eventually discharge from the pipes and into estuaries, streams and rivers. When the combined pipe system was designed, Hsieh says, engineers assumed it was safe. But current engineers no longer assume that: Hsieh is thus studying the effect of a combined pipe system on water quality and drinking water. He received his bachelor's degree from Cheng-Kung University, Taiwan, his master's degree from University of Iowa, and his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.

Authority on Water Purification and Membranes

Kamalesh K. Sirkar, Ph.D., distinguished professor of chemical engineering and the sponsored chair for membrane separations at NJIT, is also the director for the Center for Membrane Technologies, all at NJIT. He has received a number of awards and honorary degrees, and is a co-editor of the widely used Membrane Handbook, (Chapman and Hall Publishers, N.Y.) 1992. He has authored 162 publications and holds 19 U.S. patents. He is an internationally renowned expert in membrane separation technologies, some of which are being increasingly employed for water purification as well as desalination. Sirkar has also studied industrial uses of water and how industries might recycle wastewater.

He received his bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, and his master's and doctorate from the University of Illinois, Urbana.


NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar astrophysics. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as a "perennially most wired" university.

Contact Information:   Sheryl Weinstein
Robert Florida
Public Relations 
(973) 596-3433