"Professor McCarty has made landmark contributions towards understanding the microbiology and chemistry of anaerobic wastewater treatment systems," according to the nominating committee's citation. "He has discovered the fundamental bases for the complex processes that now can be used in the design and operation of treatment systems. He has also tackled the important problem of organic compounds and pollutants in wastewater and underground aquifer systems. His pioneering research has allowed the development of more effective treatment practices."
The committee also noted that McCarty's recent work on microbial biofilms "has wide-ranging implications for the design of treatment systems. The landmark studies on biofilms provide useful tools for understanding the performance of microbial processes and scaling the results to large systems.
"Professor McCarty has defined the field of environmental biotechnology. He has laid the corner stones of what are certainly the fundamentals of future water supply and treatment systems. He has integrated microbiology, aquatic chemistry, and water science and technology into a coherent and complementary discipline. He has influenced the education, research and practice of water science and technology as no other individual has before."
Decades of work
McCarty has published more than 300 papers in water science, environmental engineering and microbiology science journals, with 50 papers just in the last 10 years. His two textbooks on the chemistry, biology and design of treatment systems for municipal and industrial wastewater are still widely read.
In addition to serving on the Stanford faculty, McCarty directed the Environmental Protection Agency-sponsored Western Regional Hazardous Substances Research Center from 1989 to 2003. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and an honorary member of
Contact: Mark Shwartz