Phillip Butterfield received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, in 1976 and 1977, respectively. Prior to returning to graduate school for his doctoral studies he worked for 17 years as a professional engineering consultant, the last 13 of those years with the international consulting engineering firm CH2M HILL. His area of professional practice was municipal drinking water. He has designed numerous water related facilities including water treatment plants, large pre-stressed concrete storage reservoirs, transmission pipelines, pump stations and distribution pipelines. He has developed comprehensive water system master plans and associated hydraulic network models for both large and small cities.
In 1994, Butterfield entered the doctoral program at Montana State University-Bozeman, Montana, where he was a research assistant at the Center for Biofilm Engineering. There he worked with Dr. Anne Camper and Dr. Gordon McFeters in the study of biofilms in drinking water distribution systems. While a graduate student he was co-recipient of the Characklis Award for Outstanding Graduate Student at the Center for Engineering and was among the first group of graduate students to be selected as a Fellow of the Burton K. Wheeler Center for Montana Public Issues at Montana State University-Bozeman.
Butterfield received his Ph.D. in 1998 and remained at the Center for Biofilm Engineering to do post-doctoral studies with Dr. Camper and later worked as a Research Assistant Professor at the Center for Biofilm Engineering. His research has investigated the effects of chlorine on drinking water biofilm under different water quality conditions, the role of iron oxide corrosion products and humic substances in development of drinking water biofilm, impact of biofilm on the quality of reclaimed water, and interactions between biofilm and pathogens in drinking water.
He developed a personal computer application to assist small water systems in assessing their system for potential microbial contamination risks. He served as one of four organizers of the International Colloquium on Public Health Risks in Small Drinking Water Systems held in May 2004 at Montana State University. This colloquium was attended by over 45 professionals from throughout the world where for three days they discussed the many issues facing small water systems and how improvements could be made to reduce health risks.
In the fall 2003 he joined the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University Washington, where he taught classes in environmental health and performed research related to pathogens in drinking water.
Butterfield recently joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Washington State University as an Associate Research Professor, located at WSU's Spokane Riverpoint Campus. He is currently a member of the American Water Works Association, Water Environment Federation and American Society of Microbiology, and is a registered professional engineer in three states.