WEF Honors Water Professionals, Organizations for Service and Contributions

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The Water Environment Federation (WEF) recently announced its 2017 WEF Awards recipients for multiple categories, including individual service and contributions; public education; operational and design excellence; and published papers.

These awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the sustainability of water resources and made a profound impact on the future of the water profession. 

“The Water Environment Federation is extremely proud to honor the incredible contributions of these individuals and organizations in protecting one of the world's most valuable resources and contributing to their communities,” says WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill.

The 2017 recipients for Individual Service and Contribution Awards include:

  • Camp Applied Research Award: Michael Stenstrom, Ph.D., P.E.
  • Emerson Distinguished Service Medal: Karen Pallansch P.E., BCEE, WEF Fellow
  • Outstanding Young Water Environment Professional Award: Michelle Hatcher
  • W. Wesley Eckenfelder Industrial Water Quality Lifetime Achievement Award: Al Goodman and Enos Loy Stover
  • Water Heroes Award: City of Dallas - Water Utilities (DWU) - Central Wastewater Treatment Plant; Renewable Water Resources, Greenville, South Carolina; and Steven Stire and Doug Nielsen, Suncor Firebag Facility, Alberta, Canada

The 2017 recipients for Public Education are:

  • WEF Canham Graduate Studies Scholarship: Sneha Shanbhag, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Fair Distinguished Engineering Educator Medal: Dr. Spyros Pavlostathis, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Media and Public Education Medal: Elizabeth Brackett
  • Public Communication and Outreach Program Awards | Individual Category: Robert Bates
  • Public Communication and Outreach Program Awards| Member Association Category: Water Environment Association of Texas 
  • Public Communication and Outreach Program Awards | Other Category: Water Replenishment District of Southern California

The 2017 recipients for Operational and Design Excellence Awards are:

  • Collections Systems Award: Keith McCormack 
  • Innovative Technology Awards: Wipes Ready Grinders-JWC Environmental; Aqua Assist-Drylet LLC; and HydroFLOW I Range Products-HydroFLOW USA
  • Morgan Operational Solutions Award: Peter M. Brown of TransAqua 
  • Schroepfer Innovative Facility Design Medal: Completion of the Calumet Tunnel and Reservoir Plan by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
  • Water Quality Improvement Award: Completion of the Calumet Tunnel and Reservoir Plan by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
  • WEF Project Excellence Award: Alexandria Renew Enterprises State-of-the-Art Nitrogen Upgrade Program; Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) Stickney Water Reclamation Plant Nutrient Recovery Facility; and Riverhead, New York Water Resource Recovery Facility Upgrade and Reuse Program
  • WEF Safety Award: Linden Water Resource Recovery Facility

WEF also announced its 2017 recipients for published papers.

Winning the Eddy Wastewater Principles/Processes Medal was the paper “Investigations into Improving Dewaterability at a Bio-P/Anaerobic Digestion Plant” by Rebecca Alm, Adam W. Sealock, Yabing Nollet, and George Sprouce. It was published in the November 2016 edition of Water Environment Research.

According to WEF, “The researchers demonstrated outstanding insights into the physical and chemical mechanisms responsible for poor dewaterability of EBPR sludge in water resource recovery plants and practical solutions that can address the problem. The researchers investigated a critical gap in the understanding of poor dewaterability of enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) process sludge after anaerobic digestion. The findings demonstrated the need for careful pilot scale investigation of solutions that will lead to enhanced dewaterability of EBPR process sludge.”

The winner of the Gascoigne Wastewater Treatment Plant Operational Improvement Medal was the paper “Activated Sludge Sleuthing” by Tom Fitzwilliams, Matthew Castillo and Trevor Ghylin. It was published in the July 2016 edition of Water Environment & Technology.

According to WEF, “The article describes how one plant used state-of-the-art DNA sequencing laboratory analysis to exactly quantify the bacterial makeup of their plant’s mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS). Other sludge quantification procedures are relatively subjective in nature, resulting in generalized conclusions about potential solutions to seasonal plant operating problems. This article details how staff at the Ho-Chunk Nation Wastewater Treatment Facility in Baraboo, Wisconsin, used a relatively new sludge analysis procedure to completely and objectively quantify the seasonal biological make-up of their plant’s MLSS."  

Winning the McKee Groundwater Protection, Restoration or Sustainable Use Award was “Biodegradability of Nonionic Surfactant Used in the Remediation of Groundwaters Polluted with PCE” by Luz Breť on-Deval, Elvira Rios-Leal, H’ector M. Poggi-Varaldo and Teresa Ponce-Noyola. It was published in volume 88 of Water Environment Research.

According to WEF, “the study described decomposition of surfactant Tween 80 (used as PCE dispersant and carbon source) by a PCE-degrading consortium applied for on-site groundwater remediation. In particular, the study was well designed to distinguish surfactant decomposition from COD removal and to quantify various patty acids formed under denitrifying, methanogenic, and aerobic metabolisms."

The Rudolfs Industrial Waste Management Medal will be presented to authors Bryan Coday, Julia Regenery, Elizabeth Bell, Taylor Poynor, Ruby Maltos, Shalom Fox, and Tzahi Cath for “Forward Osmosis Desalination in Upstream Oil and Gas: Impacts of Produced Water Exposure on Membrane Physiochemical Properties and Contaminant Transport,” which was published in Proceedings of WEFTEC 2016.

According to WEF, “the selected paper focuses on forward osmosis (FO), an emerging membrane technology. Specifically, the authors conducted bench- and pilot-scale studies of the impact oil and gas production wastewaters have on the physical and chemical stability of typical FO membranes. Further adoption of forward osmosis technology will depend on future studies like this that demonstrate its benefits and drawbacks.”

The awards will be presented during WEFTEC 2017, the federation’s 90th annual technical exhibition and conference Sept. 30 to Oct. 4 in Chicago.

For more information about the WEF Awards, visit www.wef.org/awards.


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