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Former Department Head, Distinguished University Professor Mort Barlaz named Lifetime Member of AEESP

Former Department Head and Distinguished University Professor Mort Barlaz was among eight scholars inducted as Lifetime Members of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) in 2024. 

Lifetime Membership is conferred upon a member who either has retired with more than 20 years of continuous membership in AEESP or achieves 35 years of continuous membership in AEESP.

Barlaz, who has been a member of AEESP for 36 years, said that it has been fun to look back over his career at activities he has been involved with for decades, such as AEESP membership and service. 

“AEESP is my community of environmental engineering faculty,” he said. “AEESP has been particularly meaningful because the community of researchers working on municipal solid waste is small, and this made AEESP my primary professional organization. I loved the opportunity to serve the environmental engineering community through AEESP over the years.”

Barlaz first joined CCEE in 1989 as an assistant professor after working in environmental engineering roles in the private and public sectors. He was promoted to professor in 2000, served as associate head from 1998-2006 and as head from 2010-22. He was appointed as a Distinguished University Professor in 2015.

Throughout his time as a professor and department head, Barlaz continued to be one of the top researchers in solid-waste engineering and landfills. He has authored more than 160 peer-reviewed publications and made hundreds of presentations all over the world. He has been involved in research on various aspects of solid waste since 1983, including research on biological refuse decomposition, methane production, and the biodegradation of hazardous wastes in landfills. His research forms the basis for much of the work done to assess the impact of landfills on methane emissions inventories. Barlaz is also recognized for his research on the application of life-cycle analysis to evaluate environmental emissions associated with alternate solid waste management strategies. Most recently, he has been working on the processes that contribute to heat accumulation in landfills and on the release of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from landfills.

Barlaz has won numerous awards for his contributions to research, including a National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellowship, the Perry L. McCarty Association of Environmental Engineering & Science Professors Founder’s Award, and the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists Gordon Maskew Fair Award. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Association of Environmental Engineering & Science Professors.