Keith Minnich, BCE, MSE, PE (Wisconsin), P.Eng. (Alberta)

Keith joined WaterSMART in August 2012. He grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania near the Delaware River. Like so many other rivers in the 1960s the Delaware River, Philadelphia’s connection to the sea and the foundation for much of its economic activity, was terribly polluted; primarily a result of inadequate industrial and municipal wastewater treatment. Comparing descriptions of what the river had once been to the sights and smells of the river in the 1960s convinced Keith he wanted in some way to help make it better. The USA federal Clean Water Act was passed in 1972 with broad goals for water quality improvement through implementation of public and private works. A typical path for environmental engineers in the 1970s was civil engineering and Keith received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware in Civil Engineering in 1977. The University of Michigan had recently initiated a science based cross-disciplinary program focused on water, which included economics and public policy, and Keith received a Master’s degree in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Keith returned to Philadelphia in 1978 and spent the next three years working for Chicago based engineering firm, Greely and Hansen, on programs to deal with the byproducts from the new municipal sewage treatment plants along the Delaware River and in other east coast cities.

Many of the large municipal works, each project often requiring a decade or longer, were well underway by 1980. Industrial water treatment offered a new set of opportunities for a young engineer who wanted to see projects lasting only a few years from start to finish. That industrial work also opened two exciting areas: treating water for reuse instead of for discharge and recovering water from the ocean by desalination.

Between 1980 and 2010, Keith worked for three technology providers: Milwaukee based, Aqua-Chem; Pittsburgh based, Aquatech International Corp; and, a Chicago based division of Veolia Water. After working as a process engineer for six years, Keith held a variety of positions in manufacturing engineering, project management, general management and business development. He has experience working in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia along with several SAGD projects in Alberta.

Between 2010 and 2012, Keith worked for Calgary based Talisman Energy Inc. He was responsible for leading the development of water management strategies, including reuse and disposal, for unconventional gas production.

The confluence of desalination and recycle/reuse technologies has contributed to the reuse of produced water from oil and gas activities. Keith believes that the challenges today are less about technology and more about policy, regulatory and stakeholder issues and his experience can contribute to the improved management of water.