Current Activities and Interests
As CRC Director, William (Bill) Ball is responsible for identifying and expanding research activities in or relevant to the Chesapeake Bay watershed for the extensive scientific community within the CRC member institutions as well as other regional scientists. He is especially interested in effectively tapping the depth and breadth of available research expertise to bring creative new solutions to tough environmental problems and to promote the Chesapeake Bay as an appropriate test bed for ground-breaking environmental research. Additionally, Bill is strongly committed to the advancement of strongly inter-disciplinary approaches that can serve to ensure effective transfer of research results to regional managers and policy makers in understandable formats and manners and help ensure effective public participation in the process. It is only through consideration of the best possible science that the most practical and scientifically defensible management of the watershed and its living resources can be assured.
As Executive Secretary of the Chesapeake Bay Program's Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), Bill is also responsible for administering activities of this standing experts committee. For additional information on STAC, see the
Finally, as a continuing Professor of Environmental Engineering within the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, Bill continues to teach one course, advise research students on continuing grants, and maintain active involvement in non-Chesapeake related activities, such as professional mentoring for the JHU student chapter of Engineers Without Borders-USA and committee work with students in various areas of environmental engineering and science. In these regards, he is on 75% Leave of Absence for his CRC activities and conducts all new Bay related work through his CRC role.
IPrior to joining the CRC as Director in 2015, Bill worked for 38 years on various aspects of water quality and environmental research. After a childhood of crabbing, fishing, swimming and sailing in the waters of the lower Chesapeake Bay, Bill focused his education and early career on better understanding issues of water quality and treatment. Following his MS degree, his first professional employment was with the environmental engineering firm of James M. Montgomery, where he worked on feasibility studies, designs, and applied research related to the treatment of both drinking water and municipal and industrial “used water” effluents, culminating in a Supervising Engineer role on a three-year study of possible water recycling from the tidal-fresh estuary of the Potomac River. Ball then returned to graduate school in 1983 to study on topics within the rapidly evolving fields of environmental organic chemistry, groundwater remediation, and contaminant transport. This was then followed by an academic career that included three years at Duke University (in Civil and Environmental Engineering) and continuing employment through Johns Hopkins University, in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering. Bill’s research career has focused largely on issues of adsorption, diffusion, and transport affecting organic chemicals in aquatic environments, with special attention to contaminant interactions with soils, sediments, and aquifer materials, and including a body of work with black carbon materials ranging from soot, chars, and activated carbons to carbon nanotubes and other engineered nanomaterials. In the last ten years prior to taking on the CRC position, Bill was involved as Director and Principal Investigator of several multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary projects relating to both Chesapeake Bay estuarine water quality and watershed function. These projects involved investigators from multiple academic institutions throughout the Bay region (including three CRC member institutions) and included close collaboration with federal and state agency scientists within the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership. They provided excellent background for his current position, which brings him full circle on his 1972 commitment toward helping to “Save the Bay” through applied science and engineering effort.