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Drexel Engineering Remembers Wesley O. Pipes

May 22, 2013

Wesley O. Pipes, professor emeritus in the civil, architectural and environmental engineering department, passed away on May 20, 2013. Pipes had a long and productive history in research and teaching in civil and environmental engineering.
Pipes was born on January 28, 1932 in Dallas, TX. He received bachelor's and master's degrees in biology from North Texas State University. Pipes received his Ph.D. in sanitary engineering at Northwestern University under Harold Gotaas, who served as the dean of the Technological Institute at Northwestern during this time.
Pipes joined Northwestern University after receiving his doctoral degree in 1959 where he remained until 1974, holding dual appointments in both the civil engineering and biology departments. In 1975. he joined Drexel University as the inaugural LD Betz Professor of Ecology.
In 1983, Pipes transferred into the College of Engineering and served as department head of civil engineering until 1987. Pipes remained an active faculty member of the department and retired in 1998. He was also active in the Environmental Studies Institute where he previously served as associate director and participated in numerous Drexel committees. Pipes was president of the Drexel chapter of Sigma Xi from 1981 through 1982.
Pipes was active in a number of national and international societies including the American Water Works Association, the Water Environment Federation, the American Society of Microbiology, the Association of Environmental Engineering Professors (serving as president in 1975), the International Water Association, the International Environmetrics Society (of which he was a founding member) and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Pipes' scholarly work was in the area of microbiological understanding of water and wastewater treatment systems. His early work focused on biological disturbances in common wastewater treatment systems and on the use of algae for treatment of wastes. Pipes' work at Drexel focused on understanding the distribution of bacteria in drinking water systems, and played an important part in revisions of the U.S. drinking water regulations. He authored over 125 papers and major reports on these topics.
Pipes received awards for his work from the Association of Environmental Engineering Professors and the Pennsylvania Water Pollution Control Association.
Pipes is survived by his wife, Jane, four children and his many “academic children.” Services will be held at the 1st Baptist Church of Haddonfield, NJ on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 11:00 a.m.
An event in Pipes’ memory will be held at Drexel at a future date.