Researcher Spotlight: Prasanta Kalita, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Professor Prasanta Kalita is a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Along with co-investigator Richard Cooke, he developed ICT’s Erosion Control and Research Center (ECRTC). Kalita is also involved in two current ICT projects:

  • R27-102: Installation and Performance Testing of Ditch Checks and Inlet Protection Structures
  • R27-104: Native Vegetation Establishment for IDOT Erosion Control Best Management Practices

Kalita facilitated the development of a center on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus that would demonstrate erosion, sediment, and storm water control practices suitable to Illinois conditions—both within laboratory and field settings. ECRTC is equipped with rainfall simulators (sprinklers) and automated water quality samplers that can simulate conditions typically found along Illinois roadways, highways, and in urban settings.

The ECRTC evaluates the performance of IDOT-identified storm water management and erosion control best management practices in real Illinois conditions and provides IDOT with staff training in a timely and cost-effective manner. Kalita explained that there is a great need to develop erosion control practices, evaluate current practices and products, and provide training to various groups for a sustainable environment.  Kalita’s goal is to make the ERCTC one of the best erosion control centers in the country where quality research, demonstration, and education will be provided to groups who need such training and education.

Kalita holds a PhD from Iowa State University and an M.Eng from the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand, in soil and water resources engineering. He has a B.Tech in agricultural engineering from Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, India. He has been on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1999, where he was awarded the Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Colleges Senior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award. Previously, he was a faculty member at Kansas State University.