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Robert W. Cleary

Founder & Principal Instructor

  • Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering

  • Former Professor at Princeton University

  • Former Professor at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

  • LinkedIn

About Robert Cleary

Robert W. Cleary was a professor of Civil and Geological Engineering at Princeton University and a Professor of Geosciences at the University of Sao Paulo, Brasil. He received his Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and is currently a groundwater consultant and an adjunct professor in the Hydrogeology Field School course of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Dept. of the University of Waterloo. He is a co-author of the first peer-reviewed, chlorinated solvent remediation paper ever published (1981).


His research interests and practical experience include all aspects of groundwater contamination, remediation, hydrology, modeling, site characterization, litigation support and remediation strategies. In addition to numerous technical articles and reports, he has authored book chapters dealing with groundwater hydrology and modeling in English and Portuguese. Considered one of the outstanding teachers in the field,  he is a principal lecturer in Princeton Groundwater Inc.'s Groundwater Pollution and Hydrology and Remediation courses in the United States, and Brazil.

Dr. Cleary has been awarded by the National Ground Water Association for his tremendous impact on the groundwater science through his career as a professor and researcher. 

Press Release from the National Groundwater Association on Dr. Cleary's nomination for the 2015 Recognition Award

Robert Cleary, Ph.D., president of Princeton Groundwater Inc., Tampa, Fla., has received the 2015 Special Recognition Award from the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).

The Special Recognition Award is presented to an individual or organization demonstrating dedication, service, and commitment to the groundwater industry and community through involvement and achievement on a local or regional level. The award will be presented at the 2015 Groundwater Expo in Las Vegas, Dec. 15 to 17.  Cleary has taught NGWA's professional development short course on MODFLOW since 1994.

He is widely known for developing the Princeton Groundwater short courses, which he has helped lead for more than 30 years. These courses provide cutting-edge information about contaminant hydrogeology and remediation.

The courses attract regulators, students, consultants, and site owners from around the world. Many state and local regulatory agencies, consulting firms, and Fortune 500 companies rely on the Princeton courses as the primary technical training courses for their staff. It is conservatively estimated that more than 20,000 people have attended the Princeton groundwater pollution and remediation courses.


Having previously taught at Princeton University and the University of Sao Paulo, Cleary currently teaches at the University of Waterloo in Canada. He claims the accomplishment of which he is most proud is “the many thousands of students I have had the privilege to teach and influence in university and professional groundwater courses together with the best instructors in the world.”


Nominator Murray Einarson of the consulting firm Haley & Aldrich Inc., Oakland, Calif., said, “The word that comes to mind to describe Dr. Cleary’s teaching legacy is ‘impactful.’ His contributions have been impactful not just for the sheer number of his former students but also for the content of his teaching.”

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