New Faculty: Joseph Goodwill, P.E.

Joseph Goodwill 2By Neil Nachbar

Water quality isn’t a topic most Americans think about until a crisis occurs, like the one that took place in Flint, MI last year.

However, Joseph Goodwill, who has joined the faculty of URI’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering this fall, has tackled the subject head-on in his career.

“I have helped numerous water utilities over the years solve urgent water quality problems,” said Goodwill. “These utilities provide a vital resource – potable water. Supporting them is one of the best things about working in this field.”

At URI, Goodwill looks forward to researching safe ways in which water can be reused.

“Public water systems are turning toward forms of water reuse to combat system stress,” stated Goodwill. “This is exciting, however, water reuse carries potential risks to public health. I would like to innovate and evaluate physical-chemical treatment processes that may be applied to treatment for water reuse.”

Department chair Mayrai Gindy, and her colleagues, are excited to have Goodwill join the faculty.

“Joe brings tremendous experience as an educator and a contagious energy for research,” said Gindy. “His expertise in the area of water quality will complement the ongoing work of our environmental faculty very nicely and I’m excited to see them collaborate on meaningful work that will truly have a significant impact on many people.”

Goodwill has submitted research proposals to study the use of ferrate as an oxidant, coagulant and disinfectant for water reuse.

“This work includes potential collaboration with Iowa State University,” explained Goodwill. “I also expect to work closely with the CVE faculty at URI on this project. We hope to discover viable treatment options that may exist for water utilities that are interested in adopting water reuse, but also have reservations about the complexity and shortcomings of existing treatment options.”

Goodwill received his doctorate and master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. After teaching at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania for a year, he is excited to be at URI.

“URI offers a unique combination of robust research capabilities and engineering education,” said Goodwill. “I look forward to collaborating with the faculty, which is very talented. Also, the location, with proximity to New York City, Boston and Providence, will allow for rich connections with industry partners.”

The professor looks forward to conducting research that will result in a positive impact on people’s lives.

“The next few years will begin to bring significant change to the water industry, as new technology and new business practices take shape,” stated Goodwill. “I hope to play a key role in this transformation through research, teaching, and service to the community.”

Goodwill has witnessed the challenges communities face with regard to drinking water, both here and abroad.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work in several developing countries, including Malawi, India, Ghana and Bolivia,” recalled Goodwill. “Being able to impact environmental issues in these areas is very fulfilling, especially when involving students.”

Last spring, Goodwill drove to Flint, MI in the aftermath of one of the country’s worst water-related events. The 700-plus mile drive gave him plenty of time to reflect on how neglecting water quality issues can have devastating effects on communities, which he wrote about in a blog entry.

Hopefully Goodwill’s research at URI will help prevent future tragedies involving drinking water from happening.

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