MU engineer lends water quality expertise to federal, state agencies
A University of Missouri environmental engineer’s work in the area of clean water made him a go-to adviser on the subject both nationally and state-wide.
Baolin Deng, C.W. LaPierre Professor of civil and environmental engineering, will serve on the Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board’s Drinking Water Committee until 2018. He’ll also serve on a task force to update the Missouri Water Plan, an effort being undertaken by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
As part of the EPA committee, he’ll be called upon when needed to provide technical advice to the EPA administrator on matters related to drinking water. His service on the committee won’t require him to lessen his ongoing educational and research duties.
“If you can use your scientific background to potentially help the EPA on issues as important as providing safe drinking water to people, that’s always rewarding,” Deng said.
Deng’s work has focused frequently on water safety, particularly in areas of groundwater mediation, treating arsenic in water and fabricating membranes to filter contaminants out of water. He’s also the current director of the Missouri Water Resources Research Center, a federally-funded organization focused on water-related environmental issues.
He said he was both surprised and honored to be selected to share his expertise with government leaders, with water safety at the forefront of environmental issues in the U.S., as illustrated by the ongoing crisis in Flint, Mich.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be able to serve in this kind of capacity,” Deng explained. “You do have to have some expertise in the area for people to nominate you, to consider you. Personally, I really consider this an opportunity to serve, to use my knowledge of drinking water systems to provide advice meaningful to the governmental agencies and the public.”
As for the Missouri Water Plan, he’ll be helping to identify potential research areas in order to modernize the plan, which sets guidelines for the state on how best to utilize its water resources.
“We’re really discussing to see if we can find projects at the university to work on on water-related issues,” Deng said.