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Origins and Evolution of the Carollo Research Group: 25 Years of Applied Research by Design

Authors: Jess Brown, PhD, PE; Gil Crozes, PhD, PE

Currents: Volume 4, 2022

Currents CRG 25 Years


In the late 1980s and 1990s, the number of contaminants regulated under the USEPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) almost quadrupled relative to the original 1974 regulations. In parallel, a new trend in proprietary technology development was observable in the water industry; often technologies brought in from around the world by way of industry consolidation and globalization.
Consequently, Carollo began to recognize that technical innovation needed to be integrated with sound engineering to address the increasingly complex challenges and opportunities facing our clients.

This recognition was the driving force that launched the Carollo Research Group (CRG) in 1997. Established as a centralized team of drinking water researchers and engineers in our Boise, Idaho office, the group embraced the technical specialization of its members who have since become leading technologists in several areas such as UV, advanced oxidation processes, membrane filtration, desalination, biological drinking water treatment, and emerging contaminants.

The group completed stand-alone applied R&D projects for national water agencies, but also began working closely with internal project managers to help municipalities “bridge the gap” between good technical ideas and practical full-scale solutions. The group also established a laboratory, equipped with jar testers, media columns, flow-through ozone demand/decay equipment, UV collimated beam, bench-scale membrane and dissolved air floatation systems, wet chemistry testing, total organic carbon analyzer, and a small fleet of pilot testing equipment.

Jess Brown, the CRG Director, says “The needs and challenges facing our clients and the water industry will continue to direct the focus, energy, and resources of the Carollo Research Group for the next 25 years and beyond.”


Since CRG’s founding, challenges facing the water industry have grown in number, complexity, and urgency…aging infrastructure, increasingly stringent water quality and discharge limits, public demand for sustainability, emerging contaminants, and variable water supplies to name a few Carollo’s geographic reach has also grown, expanding from 13 offices in 8 states in 1997 to over 50 offices in 24 states and one Canadian Province today. In response to these internal and external dynamics, CRG evolved from a small group in Boise to a decentralized group of over 30 staff with eight Regional R&D Leads across the country, thereby more directly connecting R&D initiatives/resources with our clients’ needs. CRG’s focus areas expanded to include wastewater, reuse, stormwater, industrial water, decision support, digital water, and a growing portfolio of emerging contaminants. Additionally, CRG’s laboratory- and field-based testing capabilities have grown to meet an exploding demand, culminating in our Water ARC® program that features an 8,900-square foot treatability testing center along with full-service support for field, pilot, and demonstration studies.

Looking Ahead

The last 25 years have seen rapid change across the water industry, and while CRG’s team of in-house engineers, scientists, planners, modelers, and researchers has grown and diversified as a result, what hasn’t changed is our commitment to working toward reliable solutions and tools for our clients.

A few examples are called out on the opposite page, discussed in this Annual CRG Edition of Currents, and featured in past editions. Looking ahead, as we see change as a constant in the water industry, the needs and challenges facing our clients will continue to direct the focus, energy, and resources of the Carollo Research Group for the next 25 years and beyond.

B. Narayan, Carollo’s CEO, summarizes this by saying “As a pure water specialist, technical innovation focused on solving complex water problems has always been an integral part of Carollo. The CRG has played a critical role in keeping this edge sharpened, and over these past 25 years, not just contributed significantly to our success, but also helped advance the body of knowledge in our industry. I am very proud of the accomplishments of this group, and look forward to an even greater impact as we tackle the increasingly challenging issues of the future.”

Read more of this issue of Currents: Currents: Volume 4, 2022