Portrait of Steve Wright.

Steven J. Wright

Emeritus Professor


183 EWRE

1351 Beal Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109


  • Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1977
  • M.S., Washington State University, 1973
  • B.S., Washington State University, 1971

Research Interests

I am interested in applications at the intersection of fluid mechanics and environmental engineering, particularly associated with experimental laboratory research. Recent laboratory studies include an investigation of processes controlling physical stability of contaminated fine-grained marine sediments, controls on total mixing from marine discharge of wastewater through outfall structures, physical processes associated with the rapid filling of stormwater conduits, and mitigation of wave impacts in Great Lakes harbors. I am also interested in the utilization of the experimental findings from these studies in the development of computational models, including the development of numerical models to simulate the rapid filling problem in stormwater conduits including the role of trapped air and in model development of buoyant jet models for predicting the mixing achieved in wastewater outfall discharges.

To watch a video of me discussing Typhoon Vongfong and storm surges, please click here. To watch a video of me discussing climate change and hurricane preparedness, please click here.

Professional Service

  • World Bank – Provide technical review for scientific studies for proposed Red Sea-Dead Sea Diversion Project
  • Co-organizer Pan American Advanced Study Institute “Balancing Hydropower Development and Biodiversity: Is Sustainability in an Adaptive Management Framework Achievable?”
  • State of Idaho – Provided numerical modeling support for development of rule curves for operation of Dworshak Reservoir to manage temperatures and total dissolved gas concentrations in the Clearwater River for salmon recovery efforts under the Endangered Species Act.
  • General Electric Nuclear Energy Division – Provided program review for investigation of fluid dynamics responsible for high cycle fatigue cracks in shrouding surrounding steam dryer system in General Electric nuclear power plants.
  • USEPA Science Advisory Board – D-CORMIX Review Panel, 1998-99.
  • City of Ann Arbor – Sanitary Sewer Overflow Prevention Task Force, member 1999-2001.
  • City of Chelsea – Head of Citizens Committee to examine water and wastewater systems and recommend future upgrades to system, identified source of reverse osmosis system fouling and recommended solutions.
  • Great Lakes Commission – Technical Experts Panel, Ecological Impacts of Water Withdrawals from the Great Lakes Basin, 2001-02.
  • Co-editor of symposium monographs published from annual Urban Water Systems Modeling Conference since 2006.
  • Review Team for rapid assessment of groundwater inflow problems into access shafts for Dearborn Combined Sewer Overflow Storage Tunnel.
  • Faculty Director of Education and Outreach, Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute, University of Michigan, 2008-2010.


  • Arthur N.L. Chiu award, Chi Epsilon, National Outstanding Faculty Advisor for the period 2008-2009.
  • President’s Council State Universities of Michigan: Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year, 2009.
  • Fulbright Scholar, 2008 Teaching and Research program in Chile, Concepcion Chile.
  • Arthur F. Thurnau named University professorship 2006.
  • University-wide Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2004.
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, 2002.
  • ASCE, Ann Arbor Branch, Engineer of the Year, 1999.
  • Michigan Section, ASCE, Outstanding Civil Engineer award, 1999.
  • Visiting Erskine Fellowship, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, 1992.
  • Swiss National Science Foundation International Postdoctoral Fellowship 1984.
  • University of Michigan Class of 38E Distinguished Service Award, 1980.
  • Lorenz G. Straub Award (by St. Anthony Falls Hydraulics Lab, for most meritorious Hydraulics Ph. D. dissertation), 1977.


  • J. Wright, J. W. Lewis, and J. G. Vasconcelos, “Physical Processes Resulting in Geysers in Rapidly Filling Stormwater Tunnels,” invited paper, special stormwater edition of Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, 2011, vol. 137, 3, pp. 199-202.
  • G. Vasconcelos and S. J. Wright, “Geysering generated by large air pockets released through water-filled ventilation shafts,” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering., 2011, vol. 137, 5, pp. 543-555.
  • S.J. Wright, S. Ghalib, and A. Eloubaidy, “Treatment Shaft for Combined Sewer Overflow Detention,” Water Environment Research, Vol. 82 (5), pp. 434-439.
  • J. Wright, E. Habit., S. Adlerstein, O. Parra, and J. D. Semrau, Graham Scholars Program: Sustainability Education through Interdisciplinary International Case Study, Sustainability Science, 2009, Vol. 4 (1) 29-36.
  • S.J. Wright, C.T. Creech, J.M. Lewis and J. G. Vasconcelos, “Mechanisms of Flow Regime Transition in Rapidly Filling Stormwater Storage Tunnels,” Environmental Fluid Mechanics, 2008, 8, 605-616.
  • J.G. Vasconcelos, S.J. Wright and P.L. Roe, “Improved Simulation of Flow Regime Transition in Sewers: Two-Component Pressure Approach,” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 132, 6, 2006, 553-562.
  • B.P. Tullis and S.J. Wright, “Wetting Front Instabilities: a Three-Dimensional Experimental Investigation,” Transport in Porous Media, Vol. 70 (3), 2007, 335-353.