Viraj deSilva Appointed Chair of WEF PFAS Task Force
Viraj deSilva, PhD, PE, BCEE, Freese and Nichols Senior Treatment Process Engineer and PFAS expert, was appointed the PFAS Task Force Chair for the Water Environment Federation (WEF) this October while attending WEFTEC 2022. Previously, Viraj has served on the committee as Vice Chair.
Viraj was recently published in the November 2022 WE&T article, “What Every Operator Should Know About PFAS” where he highlights and defines a glossary of terms relevant to understanding the current state of PFAS in the U.S. (Article access requires WEF member login).
The PFAS Task Force was established to aid WEF in becoming “a recognized leader and trusted resource of information on PFAS for water professionals, the public and decision-makers developing policy and regulations.” Since its formation, the task force has sponsored workshops, shared educational resources, worked closely with other agencies and organizations such as the EPA, AWWA, SWANA, SAME, AMTA, and NACWA.
In his role as chair, Viraj hopes to plan a PFAS Specialty Conference in 2024, enhance PFAS technical sessions in future WEFTEC conferences, publish PFAS-related materials in industry journals and encourage more young professionals to participate in PFAS activities.
About his appointment, Viraj said, “I didn’t expect this to happen this soon…This is one of the biggest achievements in my professional life, and I am happy it happened while I am with FNI.”
Viraj has more than 30 years of experience on water and wastewater treatment projects across the U.S. and 12 other countries, including PFAS management and treatment projects in five states working with airports, landfills, and other contaminated sites. He has been published in or presented at over 210 industry journals and conferences, 72 of which are PFAS-related; authored EPA, WEF, ASCE and AWWA manuals of practice; and his PFAS work is cited in AWWA and EPA publications. Viraj works closely with the national EPA Council on PFAS and state agencies for the development of new PFAS regulations. His AWWA’s paper Managing and treating PFAS in membrane concentrates was selected for the 2021 AWWA Membrane Treatment Best Paper award.