Educational Background

  • B.S.C.E., University of Maine
  • M.S.C.E., University of Maine
  • Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech

Research Interests

  • winery waste management
  • energy management in treatment processes
  • bacterial disinfection and non-culturable bacteria in treatment processes
  • coagulation/flocculation and bioflocculation
  • application of molecular methods in environmental engineering
  • constructed wetlands for treating non-point source pollution
  • endocrine disruptors in water and wastewater treatment
  • industrial wastewater treatment

Teaching Specialties

  • Introduction to Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering Chemistry
  • Physical/Chemical Treatment Processes
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Environmental Pollution and Control (for environmental science majors)
  • Water Resources Engineering
  • Engineering Graphics
  • Unit Operations and Processes

Recent Awards

  • Outstanding Young Alumni Award, Virginia Tech, April 2006
  • Featured Researcher in WERF Highlights Researcher Roundup, April 2006.
  • ASCE Journal of Env. Eng. Editor's Award for outstanding service to the organization and profession, 2002.
  • Awarded CH2MHill National Foundation Award, September, 2001
  • Nominated for DuPont Young Faculty Award, 2000
  • NSF-New Century Scholars Workshop Awardee, 1999.

Selected Publications

Higgins, M.J., Y.C. Chen, S.N. Murthy, D. Hendrickson, J. Farrell, P. Schafer. (2007) Reactivation and growth of non-culturable E. coli in anaerobically digested biosolids after dewatering. Water Research, 44 (3), 665-673.

Chen, Y., Higgins, M.J., Murthy, S.N., Maas, N.A., Covert, K.J. and Toffey, W.E. (2006) Production of odorous indole, skatole, p-cresol, toluene, styrene, and ethylbenzene in biosolids. Journal of Residuals Science & Technology. 3 (4): 193-202.

Glindemann, D., S. N. Murthy, M.J. Higgins, Y.C. Chen, and J.T. Novak. (2006). Biosolids incubation method for odorous gas measurement from dewatered sludge cakes. Journal of Residuals Science & Technology 3(3): 153-160.

Chen, Y.C., M.J. Higgins, N.A. Maas, S.N. Murthy. 2006. DNA extraction and Escherichia coli quantification of anaerobically digested biosolids using the competitive touchdown PCR method. Water Research, 40(16): 3037-3044.

Higgins, M.J., D.P. Yarosz, Y.C. Chen, S.N. Murthy, N. Maas, J. Cooney, D. Glindemann, J.T. Novak. (2006) Cycling of volatile organic sulfur compounds in anaerobically digested biosolids and its implications for odors. Water Env. Research.78, 243-252.

Novak, J.T., G. Adams, T. Card, Y.C. Chen, Z. Erdal, R.H. Forbes, Jr., D. Glindemann, J.R. Hargreaves, L. Hentz, M.J. Higgins, D. McEwen, S.N. Murthy, J. Witherspoon. (2006) Odor generation patterns from anaerobically digested biosolids. Water Env. Research, 78.

Chen, Y., Higgins, M.J. Maas, N.A., Murthy, S.N. and Toffey, W.E. (2005) Roles of Methanogens on Volatile Organic Sulfur Compound Production in Anaerobically Digested Wastewater Biosolids. Water Sci. and Technology, 52, 67-72.

Holbrook, D.R., M.J. Higgins, S.N. Murthy, A.D. Fonseca, E.J. Fleischer, G.T. Daigger, T.J. Grizzard, N.G. Love, and J.T. Novak. (2004) Impact of Alum Addition on the Performance of Submerged Membranes for Wastewater Treatment. Water Env. Res., 76, 2699-2702.

Higgins, M.J., L.A. Miller, and D.C. Sobeck. (2004) Case Study I: Application of the Divalent Cation Bridging Theory to Improve Biofloc Properties and Activated Sludge Performance - Direct Addition of Divalent Cations. Water Env. Research, 76, 344-352

Higgins, M.J., S. Owens, L. Szabo, and D.C. Sobeck. (2004) Case Study II: Application of the Divalent Cation Bridging Theory to Improve Biofloc Properties and Activated Sludge Performance - Using Alternatives to Sodium Based Chemicals. Water Env. Research, 76, 353-359.

Show All

SELECTED PRESENTATIONS

Higgins, M.J., Y.C. Chen, S.N. Murthy, D. Hendrickson. (2007). Latest Developments on the Emerging Issue of E. coli and Fecal Coliform Reactivation and Regrowth after Dewatering. Int. Wat. Assoc. Specialist Conference-Wastewater Biosolids Sustainability, Moncton, Canada.

Higgins, M.J., Y.C. Chen, R.H. Forbes, G. Adams, J. Witherspoon, R. Hargreaves, J. Novak, M.Higgins, Z. Erdal, R. Morton, T. Shea, M. Abu-Orf. (2007) WERF Odor Study Phase III: Impacts of Dewatering Processes and Operational Parameters on Production of Odor Causing Compounds Wat. Env. Fed. Joint Residuals and Biosolids Management Conf., Denver, Colorado.

Higgins, M.J. (2007) Fecal Coliform Re-growth Issues and Implications on Pathogen Reduction. Invited Speaker for "Hot Topics" Session at Wat. Env. Fed. Joint Residuals and Biosolids Management Conf., Denver, Colorado.

Higgins, M.J. (2007)Perspectives on Reactivation and Regrowth. Invited Speaker for Pre-Conference Workshop Session at Wat. Env. Fed. Joint Residuals and Biosolids Management Conf., Denver, Colorado.

Higgins, M.J. 2006. Overview of Reactivation and regrowth. Invited Speaker to WEF Special Research Session. at Water Env. Federation 79th Annual Con.

Higgins, M.J. 2006. Recent research updates on reactivation and regrowth of indicator bacteria. Invited featured speaker for WERF Specialty Web Seminar. Broadcast live on internet,. September 21th, 2006

Higgins, M.J. 2006. Reactivation and regrowth of fecal coliforms - state of the knowledge address. Invited speaker in WERF Research Forum, Washington, DC, August, 17th, 2006.

Higgins, M.J. 2006. Latest advances in conditioning and dewatering. Invited featured speaker for WERF Specialty Web Seminar. Broadcast live on internet with over 300 participants. June 14th, 2006

Higgins, M.J. 2006. Application of Mg(OH)2 for organic sulfur odor control, FOG removal, and reduction in polymer demand. Invited presentation for Premier Chemicals, Los Angeles, CA, March, 2006.

Higgins, M.J. and S.N. Murthy. 2006. Update on Viable but Non-culturable E. coli after digestion. Presented at the WERF Subscribers Meeting (by invitation) at the Water Env. Federation Joint Residuals and Biosolids Management Conference, March, 2006, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Higgins, M.J. Invited Research Symposium Presentation. 2005. Viable but non-culturable bacteria in digestion. Presented at pre-conference workshop, DCWASA, Washington, DC.

Higgins, M.J. 2005. Invited Research Symposium Presentation. Dewatering and Post-Processing Treatment for Reducing Odors and Pathogens. Presented at the Mid-Atlantic Biosolids Association Annual Research Symposium. Washington, D.C.

Higgins, M.J. 2005. Invited Workshop Presentation: Effects of Biosolids Dewatering Parameters and Chemical Addition on Odors. Presented at the WEF/AWWA Joint Residuals and Biosolids Management Conference. Nashville, Tennessee.

Higgins, M.J. 2005. Invited Technical Presentation: Understanding Factors Affecting Polymer Demand. Presented at the WEF/AWWA Joint Residuals and Biosolids Management Conference. Nashville, Tennessee.

Higgins, M.J., K. Hamel, Y.C. Chen, S.N. Murthy, E.J. Barben, A. Livadaros, M. Travis, N.A. Maas. 2005. Part II of Field Research: Impact of Centrifuge Torque and Polymer Dose on Odor Production from Anaerobically Digested Biosolids. Presented at the WEF/AWWA Joint Residuals and Biosolids Management Conference. Nashville, Tennessee.

Higgins, M.J. 2005. WERF Phase 3 Project Update: Biosolids Processing Modifications for Cake Odor Reduction. Presented at the New York Water Env. Association Annual Meeting, New York, New York.

Higgins, M.J. 2005. Invited Workshop Presentation: Factors Affecting Polymer Demand. Presented at the WEF/AWWA Joint Residuals and Biosolids Management Conference. Nashville, Tennessee.

Higgins, M.J. 2004. Invited Technical Presentation: Research Update: Odor Formation from Anaerobically Digested Biosolids. Presented at the Virginia Water Env. Association Annual Conference., Richmond, Virginia.

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