Environmental Systems Engineering Institute
The Environmental Systems Engineering Institute (ESEI) is the drinking water treatment research facility that is affiliated with the Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering (CECE) at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The ESEI is located in Engineering Building II on the UCF main campus in Orlando, Florida. The ESEI laboratories are outfitted with state-of-the-art analytical equipment capable of facilitating many standard water quality tests as well as carrying out cutting-edge environmental and chemical analyses; the ESEI has extensive experience with standard EPA, ASTM and Standard Methods techniques.
The ESEI assists in meeting State University System (SUS) goals as the Institute enhances the state and its many valuable assets by assisting the Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering in providing a high quality academic program that aids the state to meet economic and workforce needs. The Institute provides cutting edge research to address global problems and provides independent thinking professionals to solve these problems, improving the quality of life for Floridians. Moreover the five key elements of UCF’s strategic plan are embedded into the operating principles of ESEI. The ESEI mission stands for opportunity; its vision is bold and is building effective interdisciplinary research and is committed to inclusiveness and excellence; its values are of the highest standard as exemplified in its formal quality control process; its goals include integrity, scholarship, community, creativity and excellence; and its challenge is to cultivate an attitude of responsiveness to the drinking water community.
The ESEI has been effective in meeting its stated mission, goals and objectives, and remains a viable and important component of the University. The ESEI has been effective in furthering the knowledge and practice of engineering professions nationally while providing our students with the best possible education in a stimulating research-oriented and intellectually diverse environment. The Institute has provided technical support and analysis to municipal/governmental water utilities, engineering firms and other. Some of the work conducted by ESEI has been funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. Many of our undergraduate students participate in research projects that without ESEI’s facilities and well as institutional experience would not have otherwise occurred. For example, one of the investigations conducted with the help of ESEI involved the participation of undergraduate civil, environmental and construction engineering students to impress upon them the significance of infrastructure corrosion, to provide an opportunity to learn more about corrosion, and to motive these students to pursue advanced degrees with emphasis being placed on performing corrosion research. As such, that research effort supported, in part, the recommendations offered by the National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences that sought actions to improve the corrosion education of graduating engineers (Assessment of Corrosion Education, The National Academies Press, Washington D.C. 2009).
The ESEI is unique as it is one of few laboratories in Florida that is dedicated to providing disinfection by-product formation potential modeling to municipal utilities and professional engineering organizations that cannot obtain the service from commercial laboratories or other academic institutions. Another unique expertise that the ESEI has developed since Dr. Duranceau joined UCF is the ability to accurately quantify sulfide in drinking water wells. Sulfide is a non-regulated, naturally occurring chemical that occurs in ground water in Florida, and is very difficult to accurately measure. ESEI has earned a reputation for this type of testing which has aided UCF to attract both Institute and UCF research projects that support graduate student education. The research that is conducted directly, or indirectly, within the Institute aids the overall mission of UCF in its desire to conduct high quality research that results in high-impact peer reviewed publications. The work conducted by ESEI is valued, and it appears that there will continue to be a need for this type of research in the foreseeable future.
The Institute is under the direction of Dr. Steven J. Duranceau, P.E., an Associate Professor in the Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering Department at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Duranceau’s research focuses on advanced water treatment process cost, performance and mass transfer investigations, distribution system water quality and corrosion control. Some of his work has been published in Journal AWWA, Journal Aqua, International Journal of Environmental Health, Synthetic Communications, Desalination and Florida Water Resources Journal. He serves on the editorial boards for the journals Desalination and Water Treatment and Membranes; also, he previously served on the editorial advisory boards for the Journal AWWA and Desalination. He serves on the Research Advisory Board of the National Water Research Institute. He is a past-President and Emeritus member of the American Membrane Technologies Association (AMTA). He is one of the founding members of two of AMTA’s affiliates, the Southeast Desalting Association (SEDA) and the Southwest Membrane Operators Association (SWMOA). He is past chair of several American Water Works Association’s (AWWA’s) committees and is active in the Florida Section AWWA. He is past chair of American Water Works Association’s (AWWA’s) Desalting, Membrane Processes and Inorganic Contaminants Committees. He is a past Trustee for the Florida Section AWWA, and has been recognized by receiving several distinguished service awards. He was chair of AWWA’s 1995 and 1997 Membrane Technologies Conferences.
Several faculty at UCF have worked with the Institute on a wide array of projects with many environmental interests. Many of the faculty and staff within the UCF CECE Department as well as from other UCF departments, have collaborated with ESEI. UCF maintains a healthy relationship with utilities as well as local industrial and commercial entities.