John McCray

Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

John McCrayProfessor McCray’s research focuses on chemical transport in hydrologic systems, and generally utilize some combination of field, laboratory, and modeling work. Current projects include: green infrastructure for treating storm water and recycled water in constructed urban streams, potential release and transport of metals in groundwater due to CO2 leaking into overlying aquifers during carbon sequestration; impact of the mountain pine beetle on hydrology and chemical transport in Rocky Mountain watersheds; transport, interphase mass-transfer and remediation of hydrocarbons in groundwater; chemical and bio remediation in fractured rock aquifers; using polymer solutions to enhance delivery of remediation agents to lower-permeability media; fate and transformation of nitrogen, pharmaceuticals and other emerging organics in the vadose zone during soil-based wastewater treatment; nitrogen contamination of springs in western Florida, and joint sustainability of water resources and petroleum-energy production in the arid west.


Coolbaugh Hall 206


  • PhD Hydrology and Water Resources, The University of Arizona, 1998.
  • MS Environmental Systems Engineering, Clemson University, 1994.
  • BS Electrical Engineering, West Virginia University, 1986.

Other Affiliations

  • U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board (Environmental Engineering), 2015-2018
  • Principal Investigator, ReNUWIt, the NSF Engineering Research Center for Urban Water Reinvention
  • Former Chair, ASCE National Ground Water Quality Committee
  • Associate Editor, Ground Water
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology
  • Interdisclipinary Graduate Program in Hydrologic Science & Engineering
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor Soil and Crop Sciences Dept., Colorado State University

Selected Publications

Graduate-student and post-doctoral advisees are underlined.

  • Bearup, L.A, Maxwell, R.M, Clow, D.W, McCray, J.E., 2014. Transpiration loss in beetle-impacted watersheds increases groundwater input to streamflow, Nature Climate Change, in press.
  • Herzog, S., Higgins, C.P., McCray, J.E., 2014.  Biohydrochemical enhancement structures for streamwater treatment (BEST): Induced hyporheic flow and potential for enhanced contaminant biodegradation, in preparation for ASCE J. Environmental Engineering.
  • Kopytkovskiy, M., Geza, M., McCray, J.E., 2014, Climate-Change impacts on water resources and hydropower potential in the Upper Colorado River Basin, in preparation for J. Hydrology.
  • McCray, J.E., Tick, G., Jawitz, J.J., Annable, M., Brusseau, M.L., Falta, R., Gierke, J., Knox, R., Sabatini, D., Wood, A.L., 2011. Remediation of NAPL Source Zones: Lessons Learned from Field Studies at Hill and Dover AFB, Ground Water, 49, DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2010.00783.x.
  • Mikkelson, K.M., Dickenson, E., McCray, J.E., Maxwell, R.M., and Sharp, J.O., 2013. Water quality impacts from climate-induced forest die-off, Nature Climate Change, 3, 218-222.
  • Lawrence, J.E., Skold, M.E., Hussain, F.A., Silverman, D.R., Resh, V.H., Sedlak, D.L., Luthy, R.G., McCray, J.E., 2013.   Hyporheic zone management in urban streams: A review and opportunities for enhancing water quality and improving aquatic habitat by active management, Environmental Engineering Sci., 30(8), 480-501.
  • Mikkleson, K., Bearup, L., Maxwell, R., Sharp, J., McCray, J.E., 2012. Bark beetle infestation impacts on nutrient cycling, water quality and the interdependent hydrological effects, Biogeochemistry, in press.
  • Wunsch, A., Navarre-Sitchler, A.K. Moore, J., Ricko, A., McCray, J.E., 2013. Metal release from dolomites at high partial-pressures of CO2. Applied Geochemistry, 38, 33-47.
  • Geza, M., Lowe, K., Huntzinger, D.N., McCray, J.E., 2013. New conceptual model for soil treatment units: formation of multiple hydraulic zones during unsaturated wastewater infiltration, J. Environ. Qual., in press.
  • Bradshaw, J.K., Radcliffe, D.E., Simunek, J., Wunsch, A., McCray, J.E., 2013.  Nitrogen fate and transport in a conventional onsite wastewater treatment system installed in a clay soil:  a nitrogen chain model, Vadose Zone J., 12(3):10.2136/vzj2012.0150.
  • Silva, J., Liberatore, M. McCray, J.E., 2013. Characterization of bulk fluid and transport properties for simulating polymer-improved aquifer remediation, ASCE J. Environ. Engr., 139(2), 149-159.  Winner of the Rudolph Hering Medal from ASCE for Best Paper in Environmental Engineering in 2013.
  • Mikkelson K.M., Maxwell R.M., Ferguson, I., Stednick, J., McCray J.E., Sharp J.O., 2013. Mountain pine beetle infestation impacts: modeling water and energy budgets at the hillslope scale, Ecohydrology (6), 64-72.
  • Wunsch, A., Navarre-Sitchler, A.K. McCray, J.E., 2013. Geochemical implications of brine leakage into freshwater aquifers, Ground Water, 51(6), 855-865.

Awards and Honors

  • Fellow, Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI) of ASCE
  • Fulbright Scholar, Chile, 2013
  • Rudolph Hering Medal from ASCE for top paper in Environmental Engineering, 2013
  • Shimizu Visiting Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2013, Stanford University
  • Professor of the year AY 12-13, Hydrologic Science & Engineering Program at Mines