Dr. Chittaranjan Ray Receives Fulbright Award to Conduct Research in India and Bangladesh

An expert in riverbank filtration who has published two books on the subject, Ray will study the potential of its use in these areas to produce drinking water

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Kristen Cabral, (808) 956-5039
Public Information Officer
Carrie Matsuzaki, (808) 956-2286
College of Engineering
Posted: Jul 28, 2003

Chittaranjan Ray, an associate professor in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, has received a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship from the Council of International Education‘s Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) regional program to study the potential of riverbank filtration (RBF) to produce drinking water for selected large cities in the Ganges Plains of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.

Ray intends to visit the cities of Kathmandu, Nepal, Kanpur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, and Patna in India, and Dacca in Bangladesh to examine their current methods of drinking water production, geologic and hydrologic potential for RBF adoption during plant expansion, and for switching from surface water to bank filtrate.

RBF is a process in which horizontal and vertical wells placed on riverbanks can use the soil and sand in the aquifer to filter out suspended and dissolved chemicals as well as the pathogens present in surface water. This technique is commonly used in Europe along the Rhine, Seine, Elbe, and Danube Rivers. Many more cities in the United States are also adopting the process since the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to give credit for pathogen filtration in the treatment plant for water systems that use RBF at the front end.

Ray is one of a handful of engineering professors to receive the Fulbright award this year. He plans to work closely with a student from the University of Texas at Austin who received a Fulbright Award to study microbial pollution load in the River Ganges at Varanasi during the coming academic years. In addition, Ray also plans to organize a workshop in Roorkee, India, on the benefits of RBF with assistance from the U.S. Educational Foundation in India.

Ray has published several peer-reviewed articles on the topic, and has completed editing two volumes—"Riverbank Filtration: Improving Source Water Quality" and "Riverbank Filtration: Understanding Contaminant Biogeochemistry and Pathogen Removal," both published by the Kluwer Academic Publishers of Dordrecht, The Netherlands. The first volume is also jointly published by the National Water Research Institute located at Fountain Valley, California.

Ray also completed a monograph entitled "Pesticides in Domestic Wells" that was recently published by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) with editorial support from the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Hawaiʻi. Ray is scheduled to receive an award for the book from the president of the ASAE during a luncheon at the International Annual Meeting of the ASAE on July 30, 2003, in Las Vegas.

Ray joined the University of Hawaiʻi in 1997 and currently holds joint appointments in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Water Resources Research Center. His areas of research include water flow in soils and aquifers, drinking water quality, and pesticide contamination of ground water. In addition to his research on RBF, he has been working with local agricultural producers and various state agencies including the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture (DOA) and Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) on ground water contamination issues.

Currently, he is investigating the leaching behavior of six chemicals (some new to Hawaiʻi and some already being used) at five sites on the islands of Oʻahu, Maui, and Kauaʻi, with funding from the DOA. Ray is also the co-principal investigator of a grant from the DOH in which he and his colleagues are delineating the source water areas for various drinking water sources of all the islands of the state of Hawaiʻi and locating and identifying potential contaminating activities that can adversely affect drinking water quality. Ray earned his doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.