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Remembering Adil Godrej

Adil Godrej, Ph.D., P.E.

Adil Godrej, Ph.D., P.E.

Adil Godrej, research professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech, Co-Director of the Occoquan Watershed Modeling Laboratory, and all-around expert on the Occoquan Watershed, passed away on April 10, 2022.   Adil received an undergraduate honors degree in Chemical Engineering, a Masters in Sanitary Engineering with an emphasis on air pollution, and a PhD in Civil Engineering with an emphasis on water pollution and hazardous waste treatment. For his PhD he spent about seven years studying the sorption characteristics of spent oil shale with regards to the uptake of organic compounds, only to discover that the price of fuel had fallen so much that everybody had gotten out of the oil shale business. It was only in the last 10 years or so, more than 20 years after he got his degree, that his PhD dissertation became an academic bestseller, due to the resurgent market for gas from shale. 

Adil began working at the Lab in 1989, and worked his way up to Co-Director in 2018. His research projects involved watershed and reservoir modeling, watershed monitoring, river input monitoring, the study of BMP performance, combined sewer overflow monitoring, the evaluation of constructed wetlands performance, tidal dye dispersion and thermal plume tracing studies, among others. As part of his outreach and advisory activities at OWML, he also provided advice and input to local, regional, and state bodies on many aspects of water quality and water quality management.

Adil's research interests included water quality modeling, nonpoint pollution and urban runoff, management of urban/urbanizing watersheds, lake and reservoir management and restoration, and water reclamation and reuse. He enjoyed working with stakeholders of all sorts, and depended upon his students to accompany him on some Fridays for a lunch and wide-ranging discussion on a variety of subjects.

His non-research interests included reading and writing, etymology and language origins, tough crosswords (both standard and cryptic), music of all types, trivia, movies, pungent puns, and dark chocolate, single malts and watching cricket (preferably all three together). Like a lot of people from his home country (India), he loved a friendly argument on any subject. He tried to play his didgeridoo when he could catch a breath (pun fully intended). He will be sorely missed at the Lab, and in the community at large.