Professor Sedlak's research focuses on fate of chemical contaminants, with the long-term goal of developing cost-effective, safe, and sustainable systems to manage water resources. He is particularly interested in the development of local sources of water. His research has addressed water reuse--the practice of using municipal wastewater effluent to sustain aquatic ecosystems and augment drinking water supplies--as well as the treatment and use of urban runoff to contaminated groundwater form contaminated industrial sites as water supplies.
In recent years, his research on the fate of wastewater-derived contaminants has received considerable attention. He began this research in 1996 when he developed simple methods for measuring steroid hormones in wastewater. Since that time, he and his students have studied the fate of hormones, pharmaceuticals, toxic disinfection byproducts and other chemicals. His research team has also studied approaches for remediating contaminated soil and groundwater by in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) and advanced oxidation processes.
Currently, his research group focuses on topics including:
-The use of engineered treatment wetlands to remove chemical from effluent-impacted waters;
-The fate, transport and transformation of perfluorinated chemicals
-Development of passive systems for treatment of chemicals in urban runoff.
In addition to his laboratory and field research, Sedlak is interested in the developing new approaches for managing the urban water cycle. He pursues these efforts through research coordinated through the National Science Foundation's Engineering Research Center for Reinventing the Nation's Urban Water Insfrastructure (ReNUWIt) and the Berkeley Water Center. He also is the author of "Water 4.0", a book that examines the ways in which we can gain insight into current water issues by understanding the history of urban water systems.
In the News
Environmental engineer David Sedlak explores the serious water treatment, supply and security challenges we face, and proposes how to meet them.
As California grapples with what state water officials have called a drought of “epic proportions,” UC Berkeley urban-water expert David Sedlak has been watching for signs that people are ready for a water revolution.
The NSF has announced a five-year, $18.5 million grant to fund a new Engineering Research Center (ERC) to re-invent the country’s urban water infrastructure, which is seeing increasing challenges from age, population growth and the effects of climate change. The new center will be led by Stanford University in partnership with UC Berkeley, Colorado School of Mines and New Mexico State University.