Engineering Faculty Members Named to Coal Ash Solution Committees

Date Published: 
October 2, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Oct. 2, 2014 – UNC Charlotte Lee College of Engineering faculty members are among a prestigious group of experts seeking safe and practical solutions for disposing of coal ash.

The University has convened a blue-ribbon panel of nationally recognized experts to serve on an independent board that will review Duke Energy’s strategy and procedures for closing its ash impoundments in North Carolina and throughout the nation.

The National Ash Management Advisory Board (NAMAB) will be chaired by John Daniels, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the William States Lee College of Engineering at UNC Charlotte. A geo-technical and geo-environmental engineer best known for his work in the reuse of waste materials, Daniels has led numerical, laboratory and field projects for utilities and agencies internationally.

Meanwhile, another Lee College professor, Rajaram Janardhanam, recently was appointed to serve on the Coal Ash Management Commission, under the auspices of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. This commission will develop risk-based rankings for all 33 ponds in North Carolina. His term will run through June 2020.

Janardhanam has been at UNC Charlotte for more than 30 years in the civil and environmental engineering department. His research has focused on geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering, geotechnical earthquake engineering, flowable fly ash and construction material and engineering.

Regarding the convening of the blue-ribbon panel, Daniels said the nine-member NAMAB was funded by Duke Energy through a contract with UNC Charlotte.

“Convening this panel of internationally recognized experts is a mechanism for providing Duke Energy with the best possible input on how coal fly ash is managed across its fleet,” said Daniels. “These thought leaders will provide an objective analysis of the fundamental issues which Duke and indeed the entire industry is confronting as it develops a data-driven, sustainable, and socially conscious basis for ash basin closures.”

Daniels modeled his selection of the panelists on the peer review process developed by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), a process he implemented when he was federally employed by the NSF as a program director. The panel includes individuals with experience from academia, industry and the federal government with practical experience and complementary expertise in all relevant areas.

The purpose of the board is to provide feedback and advice to the Duke Energy Ash Basin Strategic Action Team, the utility’s senior management teams and to Duke Energy’s Board of Directors.

“John Daniels has the breadth of experience to assemble qualified people for this important challenge, which will make a difference for people nationally,” said Johan Enslin, executive director of the Energy Production & Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at UNC Charlotte. EPIC was created in response to an industry need for highly trained engineers qualified to meet the demands of the energy industry – through traditional and continuing education, and provide sustainable support to the Carolina energy industry by increasing capacity and support for applied research.

“We needed to assemble an autonomous panel with the wherewithal to study the data and come back with pragmatic recommendations,” Enslin said. “Dr. Daniels has done just that.”

Along with Daniels, the other panelists are:

  • Susan E. Burns, Georgia Power Distinguished Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Tech. Burns is a past member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Committee on Assessment of the Performance of Engineered Waste Containment Barriers, nationally recognized for reuse of coal fly ash.
  • Robert M. Deacy Sr., senior vice president, projects, Tennessee Valley Authority. Deacy has more than 30 years of experience in the utility industry. He has a wealth of hands-on experience and knowledge about nuclear, coal, pipeline, and oil and gas exploration and operations, as well as power plant construction, government and regulatory affairs, and community relations.
  • Jeffrey Evans, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Bucknell University. Evans has more than 35 years of consulting, research and teaching. A nationally recognized expert on slurry walls for waste containment, he co-authored a textbook on hazardous waste management.
  • Bob Jewell, an editor and research scientist with Environmental & Coal Technologies Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER), University of Kentucky. He has more than 10 years of working with ash ponds, ash sampling and ash beneficiation, expertise with the geology and geochemistry of ash, CAER ash workshop leader.
  • Garrick Louis, associate professor of Systems and Information Engineering, University of Virginia.  Past science and technology policy fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he is a nationally recognized expert on risk-based allocation of resources and community engagement.
  • Krishna Reddy, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago. He has more than 30 years of experience with polluted site assessment and remediation, co‐author of Geoenvironmental Engineering textbook, developed social sustainability evaluation matrix for remediation.
  • Joyce Tsuji, principal scientist, Exponent, Inc. Extensive experience in assessing the health and environmental risks of metals in coal ash and at mining and smelting sites.  Served on expert panels on toxicology and health risks issues for the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council, Institute of Medicine, and federal and state agencies.
  • William E. Wolfe, professor emeritus, Ohio State University. Wolfe has more than 40 years of experience in consulting, research, and teaching. Nationally recognized for geotechnical engineering analysis, ash dam stability.