Research honoured for contribution to water management

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) has proudly announced the 2018 WEF Awards recipients for published papers. The WEF Published Papers Awards recognises WEF members for valuable research that has the potential for broad contribution to industrial wastewater management.

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

The 2018 recipients for Published Papers are:

Eddy Wastewater Principles/Processes Medal

Rethinking the Mechanisms of Biological Phosphorus Removal, James L. Barnard, Patrick Dunlap, Mark Steichen, Water Environment Research, Volume 89, p. 2043 (2017)

The authors presented alternative process configurations of enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) which are superior to the conventional designs. These alternative process configurations are likely to support more diverse phosphate accumulating organisms over a range of environmental conditions and utilise higher carbon sources.

These configurations are particularly relevant for plants that achieve both nitrogen and phosphorus control and utilise anoxic conditions. The findings of the authors will have significant impact on the future process design for EBPR and to achieve phosphorus control consistently and reliably.

The Eddy Medal honours Harrison Prescott Eddy, a prominent engineer and a pioneer in the field of wastewater treatment. The medal is awarded for research that makes a vital contribution to the existing knowledge of the fundamental principles or process of wastewater treatment, as comprehensively described and published in a Federation periodical.


Gascoigne Wastewater Treatment Plant Operational Improvement Medal

Marrying Step Feed with Secondary Clarifier Improvements to Significantly Increase Peak Wet Weather Treatment Capacity: An Integrated Methodology, Glen T. Daigger, John S. Siczka, Thomas F. Smith, David A. Frank, J. Alex McCorquodale, Water Environment Research, v. 89, no. 8, August 2017, pg. 724

The authors detail how the staff and consultants at the City of Akron, Ohio, United States (U.S.) Water Reclamation Facility increased wet weather flow handling capabilities by maximising the use of existing plant infrastructure.

Using a combination of process simulation and computational fluid dynamics analysis of the plant’s existing secondary system, the wet weather capacity of the existing plant was rerated up by approximately 65 per cent without significant capital investment. The increased capacity potential at the plant was initially identified using simulation and fluid dynamic computational methods. The calculations directed the engineering activities and costs necessary to attain the potential increase in flow handling capacity.

Based on the computational analysis, capital modifications to the existing equipment appeared to be minor, prompting the staff to install the required modifications to approximately 15 per cent of the secondary system for subsequent full-scale testing. The full-scale testing programme also incorporated a sensitivity analysis of critical parameter assumptions to establish corrective operating procedures should plant operation “fall apart” during an actual storm event.

The approach detailed will result in significant capital savings for the city of Akron, which is in the process of modifying its entire facility to be able to attain the peak flow magnitudes piloted.

The Gascoigne Medal was established in recognition of George Bradley Gascoigne, a prominent consultant who exhibited a great deal of interest in the operation of wastewater treatment plants. The medal is awarded to the author(s) of an article that presents the solution of an important and complicated operational problem within a full-scale, operating wastewater treatment plant that is appropriately staffed.


McKee Groundwater Protection, Restoration or Sustainable Use Award

Indicators of Groundwater Potential for Nitrate Transformation in a Reductive Environment, Marija Perović, Vesna Obradović, Srd-an Kovacˇevic, David Mitrinović, Nevena Živančev, Tanja Nenin, Water Environment Research, 2017, v. 89, no. 14

The study investigated potential nitrate transformation pathways and it also encompassed field tests, tracer studies, and physicochemical and microbiological analysis of groundwater. The Kovin-Dubovac area in Serbia was selected as a study site.

To estimate different pathways of NO3 reduction, the authors combined in-situ measuring and laboratory analysis of physicochemical properties and also conducted biological reactivity tests. This study comprehensively reported nitrate removal potential in an anoxic aquifer and thus the findings can be used to predict nitrogen transport and transformation. The results revealed the important transformation pathway of nitrate to ammonium together with respiratory denitrification. 

The McKee Award recognises significant contributions to groundwater science or engineering research published in a WEF or WEF Member Association periodical. The award is named in honour of Dr. Jack McKee, the 1962-63 president of the Water Environment Federation, a founder of the consulting firm of Camp, Dresser and McKee, Inc., and a long-time professor at the California Institute of Technology.

These awards will be presented during WEFTEC® 2018, the Federation’s 91st Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference, September 29 to October 3 in New Orleans.