headshot of Rajendra Bhattarai

headshot of Rajendra Bhattarai

Rajendra P. Bhattarai

MS, University of Texas at Austin, 1980
BS, Indian Institute of Technology, 1976

Raj Bhattarai currently manages Austin Water Utility’s Environmental and Regulatory Services Division where he directs the regulatory programs required for the city's drinking water plants, wastewater collection and treatment plants as well as the reclaimed water and biosolids treatment systems. In this key role, he has become a national and international leader in the water and wastewater field and in water quality and environmental protection efforts. 

After earning his master’s degree in environmental health engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, he started his career with the Texas Department of Water Resources and quickly moved up through the ranks to assume increasingly significant leadership positions within the Austin Water Utility. 

Bhattarai has also been involved with several seminal research efforts, including work on sludge thickening and biological nutrient removal, which was awarded the Water Environment Federation’s prestigious George Bradley Gascoigne Medal for “Significant Operation Contribution.” His work on biological nutrient removal was the first full-scale demonstration of the Step-BNR process anywhere in the world is now widely used throughout the US.

He was also the project manager for the expansion and upgrade of the City of Austin’s largest wastewater plant, and a full-scale demonstration of biological nutrient removal at the South Austin Wastewater Treatment plant.

Throughout his career, Bhattarai has been active in volunteer work with the Water Environment Federation and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. He has held many leadership positions in professional organizations including serving as President of the Water Environment Association of Texas and the Texas Association of Clean Water Agencies and has been recognized with awards for his extraordinary personal service.

He also routinely teaches nutrient removal to undergraduate and graduate environmental engineering classes at UT Austin and has been a guest lecturer since 1989.