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We are sad to report that our long-time colleague and friend, Professor Emeritus Joseph V. Hunter, died November 20, 2018, at age 93.

Joseph Hunter

"Joe" joined the Department in 1955 as an instructor, and received his Ph.D. degree in Environmental Science from Rutgers in 1962. Previously he had earned a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry and Organic Chemistry from St. Johns University, had studied at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, and had worked in the chemical industry as a research and development chemist. He received his final promotion, to Professor II (now Distinguished Professor), in 1983, and retired in 1993. While here, he served as Graduate Program Director for 17 years, and as Department Chair for 7 years (1982 to 1989). By popular demand, he continued to offer a graduate course, Stream Sanitation, regularly for 15 years after his retirement. Even in the last few years he graciously provided his expertise to faculty and students on research questions.

Dr. Hunter was one of the foremost Environmental Analytical Chemists of the 20th century, leading groundbreaking research in several cutting-edge areas. For example, the first major groundwater quality survey conducted for the state, which was widely cited, was performed in his lab for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. He in fact was one of the first to utilize mass spectrometry routinely for such a purpose. He also was among the first to exam the role of stormwater in water pollution problems . now recognized as a major reason that waterbodies do not meet quality criteria. Earlier, he had extensively analyzed sewage to determine its chemical composition. In another project he looked for polychlorinated biphenyl residues in a variety of environments.

In addition to the hundreds of us he officially or unofficially mentored, many thousands of students benefited from Dr. Hunter.s lecture, laboratory, and field courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels . including students in Jilin, China, where he was among the first American visiting professors. He also was frequently called upon by industry to lend his expertise in solving pollution problems. He served on the Analytical Methods Committee of the Water Pollution Control Federation (now Water Environment Federation), which co-publishes Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. He served on a variety of editorial boards and professional society committees, and as a member of New Jersey state government advisory boards, such as the Governor.s Science Advisory Committee. He was also selected by the American Chemical Society to provide lecture tours in five other states. In 2011 he was recognized by the Cook Community Alumni Association with our Dennis M. Fenton Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award.

Thank you Joe, for all you have done. You are greatly missed.

In the news ...

Read this article about accelerating changes in the climate and growing concerns. Scientists at the Rutgers Climate Institute are evaluating the peril on many fronts.

Peter F. Strom was named a Fellow of the Water Environment Federation (WEF)

Professor Peter F. Strom was named a Fellow of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 35,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. The Fellows Program was started in 2011, and now includes 120 individuals. The award was presented in October at WEF's 91st annual technical exhibition and conference in New Orleans.


Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors Bestows Award of Excellence on NJAES Team Led by DES Professor. Leading the team was A.J. Both, extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Sciences, in collaboration with Robin Brumfield, extension specialist in the Department of Agriculture Food and Resources Economics. Read More.

George Van Orden honored by the Whippany River Watershed Action Committee

Dr. George Van Orden, 3 time department alumnus (B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.) and frequent Part-time lecturer in multiple courses including Biological Principles of Environmental Science (11:375:201) and Environmental Toxicology (11:375:407) is being honored by the Whippany River Watershed Action Committee on October 17. In addition to numerous other awards during his career, Dr. Van Orden has also received the 2010 George Hammell Cook Distinguished Alumni Award presented by the Cook Campus Community Alumni Association. A documentary movie (River's Journey) featuring his contributions to the Whippany River's dramatic recovery was released in 2014.

Craig Phelps, Rachel Dean and Yuwei Wang all gave presentations at the 2018 NEMPET (NorthEastern Microbiologists: Physiology, Ecology, and Taxonomy) Meeting in Blue Mountain Lake NY, June 22-24, 2018. Dr. Phelps was re-elected as President and Treasurer of the organization during the board meeting.

Nempet Meeting 2018


Apparent Benzene Loss in Iron-Reducing Sediment Culture
Rachel Dean and Donna Fennell – Rutgers University

Cellular Uptake of Mercury in Anaerobic Bacteria: Applications of Mercury Stable Isotopes to Elucidate Physiological Controls
Yuwei Wang, Sarah Janssen, Jeffra Schaefer, John Reinfelder and Nathan Yee – Rutgers University

Sophronia's Gardens: Science Communication in the Progressive Era
Craig Phelps – Rutgers University

Pete Strom presented with Wastewater Hall of Fame Award

Peter Strom, professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences, was presented the New Jersey Water Environment Association (NJWEA) Wastewater Hall of Fame Award at the NJWEA Conference in May. The award recognizes members of the association who have demonstrated dedication and competitive achievement in the wastewater field. Read More!

Senior Faculty position announcement ...

Rutgers University — New Brunswick seeks an accomplished scientist to serve as the inaugural Henry Rutgers Professor of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and to join our faculty in spring 2019 or as negotiated. Henry Rutgers Professorships were created recently, with central administration resources, to recruit excellent faculty with established track records in specific disciplines identified in the University's strategic plan. Here is the complete announcement.

RU Day 2018 ...

The 10th annual Rutgers Day The 10th annual Rutgers Day was celebrated under sunny skies by an estimated 106,000 people. Environmental Sciences faculty, students, and staff shared information with visitors about the research, service, and education offered at the state's largest university during this popular spring event.

Rutgers Day 2018

New 5-Year Combined B.S./M.S. Program ...

The Department of Environmental Sciences is pleased to announce that the Rutgers University School of Graduate Studies, at its December 2017 Faculty meeting, approved our proposal for a new combined 5-year (4+1) B.S/M.S. program in Bioenvironmental Engineering BEE)! This exciting new program will provide a seamless pathway for qualified engineering undergraduate students to earn a Masters Degree in an expedited manner by taking graduate courses in their Senior Year. Additional advantages of the program include a streamlined application process as well as a waiver of the GRE requirement.

A detailed program description can be obtained at the program's website.

For further information, please contact Prof. Christopher Uchrin, Ph.D., P.E., Graduate Program Director, BEE, or Prof. Uta Krogmann, Ph.D., P.E., Undergraduate Program Director, BEE.

Weather Radar on Our Campus! ...

Visitors from NBC Universal joined faculty and students from SEBS and the Meteorology Undergraduate Program to celebrate the new weather radar on our campus. This celebration was featured on WNBC as shown here.

Storm Chasers ...

students taking photos of a storm

Students experienced a new 3-credit course taught by Steve Decker. The "Severe Weather Field Trip" was featured on Rutgers Focus. Steve Decker's storm chasing class allowed student to predict, observe, and analyze storms with the goal to understand the dynamics and thermodynamics that lead to some of the most beautiful yet complex atmospheric circulations on Earth.