About ISTC


Our Mission is to encourage and assist citizens, businesses, and government agencies to prevent pollution, conserve natural resources, and reduce waste to protect human health and the environment of Illinois and beyond.

ISTC integrates applied research, technical assistance, and information services to advance efforts in the areas of pollution prevention; water and energy conservation; and materials recycling and beneficial reuse.


In September 1984, the General Assembly passed the Hazardous Waste Technology Exchange Service Act (20 ILCS 1130/1), which mandated the Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR) to establish a Hazardous Waste Technology Exchange Service Program. In 1989, that program was renamed the Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center (HWRIC) and became a sister agency of the state’s scientific surveys.

The program was temporarily administered by the Illinois State Water Survey until HWRIC could operate as an independent division of DENR (20 ILCS 1130/4, passed in 1989). Funding for the Center came through legislative appropriations from the state’s General Revenue Fund and the creation of the new Hazardous Waste Research Fund (415 ILCS 5/22.2, passed in 1985).

The Champaign, Illinois, headquarters building was completed and dedicated on Earth Day 1990 (April 20). In July 1995, Governor James Edgar restructured many state agencies (Executive Order #2 1995)., which transferred the Center, the three Scientific Surveys, and other state agencies, to the newly formed Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

In August 1996, the Board of Natural Resources and Conservation (BNRC) voted to change the Center's name to Waste Management and Research Center (PA90-0490) to reflect the broad range of services provided by the Center, which included dealing with all waste-related issues and releases to all environmental media.

In July 2008, the Center and the Scientific Surveys were transferred from the Department of Natural Resources to the University of Illinois. The Center's name was changed to the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) to more accurately reflect its research and technical assistance activities.

The Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability (renamed the Prairie Research Institute in 2011) was formed to be the umbrella organization for the Center and the other Surveys within the University. The Prairie Research Institute is a reporting unit of the University of Illinois’ Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation.


Kevin OBrien - Director 2013-Present (also Director of the Illinois State Water Survey)

David Thomas - Interim Director 2013

Manohar Kulkarni - Director 2010-2012

John Marlin - Interim Director 2009-2010

Gary Miller - Interim Director 2008-2009

George Vander Velde - Director 1998-2008

Gary Miller - Interim Director 1997-1998

David Thomas - Director 1985-1997

Michael Barcelona - Acting Director 1984