Walter Lyon PA conservation figure

Walter Lyon

June 26, 1924 - June 27, 2013

Walter Lyon was born in 1924 to a Jewish family in Cologne, Germany. In 1939, he fled to the United States with his father to start a new life, settling in Camp Hill, PA. He finished his schooling and then attended Johns Hopkins University where he studied civil engineering and earned a master’s degree in sanitary engineering.

He began his professional career as a sanitary engineer at the US Public Health Service in Washington D.C., serving as the Assistant Chief of the Planning and Development Branch Division of Engineering Resources. He later served as the Director of the Bureau of Water Quality Management in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources. In his time there, he implemented programs — the groundwater program, the aquatic biology program, water pollution and drinking water programs – that would eventually grow to affect the entire state of Pennsylvania. Many of the lakes and stream saw great improvement in water quality because of his efforts.

After retirement, Walt became a lecturer and consultant in the areas of environmental engineering and water resources. He taught a course in Environmental Impact at the University of Pennsylvania. He also gave lectures at various universities throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil, Japan and China.

Walt was a member of various organizations and technical committees, such as the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Water Quality Board, Science Advisory Board, the Board of Visitors of the University of Pittsburgh, the U.S. Delegation to the International Conference on Water for Peace, and the U.S. Environmental Control Mission to the Netherlands and Eastern Europe. With these organizations he worked on establishing environmental resources and developing water policy.

Walt is responsible for bringing the Johns Hopkins Engineering Innovation program to the Harrisburg School District at the SciTech Campus.