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EPA Scientist Jeff Szabo, Ph.D., Receives Prestigious Arthur S. Flemming Award for Exceptional Contributions to Water Infrastructure, Decontamination

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WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that EPA researcher Dr. Jeffrey Szabo has won an Arthur S. Flemming Award in Applied Science and Engineering for his exceptional contributions to water infrastructure decontamination.

Dr. Jeff Szabo receives the Arthur S. Flemming Award, June 4, 2018

“I congratulate Dr. Szabo, and EPA is proud to see him acknowledged for his critical work on water decontamination,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “It is essential that we ensure that all Americans have access to clean and safe water, and Dr. Szabo’s work is helping us achieve that goal.”

“There are very few functions performed by government that are more fundamental than ensuring our citizens have safe and secure drinking water supplies. Dr. Szabo’s research at the Water Security Test Bed has significantly advanced these efforts and demonstrates what is possible when you combine the brightest minds with world-class research facilities such as those located at the Idaho National Laboratory,” said Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter.

“For decades, the women and men at Idaho National Laboratory have been at the forefront of research and innovation breakthroughs that have had worldwide impacts,” said Idaho Senator Mike Crapo. “Thanks to the support and testing completed at INL, Dr. Szabo’s research is helping communities protect the quality and safety of their water supplies and respond quickly to contamination incidents. I congratulate Dr. Szabo on his achievement.”

“Dr. Jeff Szabo is an outstanding man who did great things for America through his research,” said Idaho Senator Jim Risch. “Under his direction and leadership, groundbreaking research is performed at the Water Security Test Bed, built at the Idaho National Lab. His work has and will continue to produce innumerable benefits to our community and nation. I join my colleagues in congratulating him today.”

“I congratulate Dr. Szabo for receiving the Arthur S. Flemming Award and for his groundbreaking research on water infrastructure and decontamination,” said Rep. Raul Labrador (ID-01). “His Water Security Test Bed, designed and built at INL, is already having a positive, real-world impact in responding to contamination incidents. This is further proof that INL continues to advance science in ways that make all of our lives better. Congratulations again to Dr. Szabo, and to everyone at INL who helped turn his research into reality.”

“The Arthur S. Flemming Award is a great honor and Dr. Szabo has demonstrated the innovation and vision to be worthy of such an award,” said Rep. Mike Simpson (ID-02). “He has been instrumental in advancing the Nation's understanding of the fate, persistence and transport of contaminants in drinking water distribution systems, and in wastewater treatment utilities. Under Dr. Szabo's direction the Water Security Test Bed was designed and built at the Idaho National Laboratory, a first-of-its-kind, multimillion dollar field scale water distribution system.”

Dr. Szabo’s research has increased the knowledge about decontaminating drinking water and wastewater, and has improved the water sector’s ability to respond to chemical, biological, and radiological incidents. Under Dr. Szabo’s direction the Water Security Test Bed was designed and built at the Idaho National Laboratory. The Water Security Test Bed is a platform for performing drinking water security experiments in a setting that resembles real water pipes in the ground without any public health risk. This research, led by Dr. Szabo, has helped water systems respond to actual contamination incidents including chemical spills in West Virginia in 2015 and Texas in 2016, and several oil spill incidents across the nation.

Dr. Szabo has worked for EPA focusing on homeland security research since 2005. He conducts and manages water security research projects at EPA’s Test and Evaluation facility. He has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, all from the University of Cincinnati, and is a registered Professional Engineer in Ohio. Dr. Szabo, a husband and father to two daughters, is the recipient of three EPA bronze medals and author of 25 peer reviewed journal publications.


Dr. Jeff Szabo with his wife Laura, and his parents Donna and Michael

Dr. Szabo was one of 12 federal employees who received Flemming Awards. The awards were presented by the Arthur S. Flemming Commission in partnership with the George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration Exit, and in cooperation with the National Academy of Public Administration Exit. A ceremony honoring the award winners took place on June 4 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

The award is named after public servant Arthur S. Flemming, who served in government for more than six decades, spanning seven administrations. He was secretary of health, education, and welfare under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. President Bill Clinton awarded Dr. Flemming the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.

More information on Dr. Szabo:

View EPA’s Water Security Test Bed Video featuring Dr. Szabo:

More information of EPA’s homeland security research: