WEF honours research contributions to water management

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) has proudly announced the 2017 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,” Eileen O’Neill, Executive Director of the WEF, said.

The 2017 recipients for Published Papers are:


Eddy Wastewater Principles/Processes Medal

Investigations into Improving Dewaterability at a Bio-P/Anaerobic Digestion Plant, Rebecca Alm, Adam W. Sealock, Yabing Nollet, and George Sprouce, Water Environment Research, November 2016, v. 88, no. 11, pp. 2082-2093

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 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

Activated Sludge Sleuthing, Tom Fitzwilliams, Matthew Castillo, and Trevor Ghylin, Water Environment & Technology, July 2016, v. 28, no. 7, p. 37

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 generalised 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.  

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 which presents the solution of an important and complicated operational problem within a full-scale, operating wastewater treatment plant which is appropriately staffed.


McKee Groundwater Protection, Restoration or Sustainable Use Award

Biodegradability of Nonionic Surfactant Used in the Remediation of Groundwaters Polluted with PCE, Luz Breť on-Deval, Elvira Rios-Leal, H’ector M. Poggi-Varaldo, and Teresa Ponce-Noyola, Water Environment Research, 2016, v. 88, no. 11, pp. 2159-2168

The study described decomposition of surfactant Tween 80 (used as PCE dispersant and carbon source) by a PCE-degrading consortium applied for onsite 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 award recognises significant contributions to groundwater science or engineering research published in a WEF or WEF Member Association periodical. 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.


Rudolfs Industrial Waste Management Medal

Forward Osmosis Desalination in Upstream Oil and Gas: Impacts of Produced Water Exposure on Membrane Physiochemical Properties and Contaminant Transport, Bryan Coday, Julia Regenery, Elizabeth Bell, Taylor Poynor, Ruby Maltos, Shalom Fox, and Tzahi Cath, Proceedings of WEFTEC 2016

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 Rudolfs Medal was established in 1949 and is named after Willem Rudolfs, an active WEF member and primary force in industrial waste research. This award recognises noteworthy accomplishments in any aspect of industrial waste management research published in WEF Conference Proceedings or a Federation periodical.

The awards will be presented during WEFTEC® 2017, the Federation’s 90th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference, September 30 to October 4 in Chicago, Illinois.