UofM’s Salehi Receives Nearly $330,000 NSF Environmental Engineering Award 

August 24, 2020 - Dr. Maryam Salehi, assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering in the Herff College of Engineering, received a $329,655 grant from the NSF-CBET Environmental Engineering program for the research project “Exploring Coupled Physical, Biological and Chemical Processes that Control Lead Fate and Transport through Plastic Plumbing Materials.” 

Dr. Shawn Brown, assistant professor in the UofM Department of Biological Sciences, is co-principal investigator; Dr. David Ladner, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at Clemson University, is the senior personnel collaborating on the project.

Lead in tap water remains an ongoing serious threat to public health, with recent large-scale lead exposures occurring in Washington, D.C., Flint, Mich., and Newark, N.J. With the rapid movement toward sustainability, plastic pipes are increasingly being used to rehabilitate aging water infrastructure and construct new potable water systems, which reduces cost and ameliorates drinking water quality concerns associated with metal pipe corrosion. 

“With increased demand and installation of plastic piping materials for potable water systems, immediate research is essential to understand drivers of contaminant fate and transfer within these materials,” said Salehi. “This interdisciplinary research will elucidate the roles of water chemistry and biofilms on lead fate within new plastic pipes.”

“Congratulations to Dr. Salehi and her team,” said Dr. Rick Sweigard, dean of the Herff College of Engineering. “This research project represents the first effort to develop a comprehensive fundamental understanding of the mechanistic microbiological, physical and chemical processes which control heavy metal fate within the plastic plumbing materials.” 

To learn more about Salehi’s research, click here

About the NSF-CBET Environmental Engineering Program
The mission of the National Science Foundation’s Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET) Division is to support innovative research and education in the fields of chemical engineering, biotechnology, bioengineering and environmental engineering, and in areas that involve the transformation and/or transport of matter and energy by chemical, thermal or mechanical means. For more information, visit https://www.nsf.gov/eng/cbet/about.jsp.