University-company team wins recognition for wastewater research

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MOSCOW, ID, Sept. 28, 2009 -- University of Idaho scientists and colleagues will be honored with the top award in their field for their research on a pioneering system to remove phosphorus from wastewater before it enters lakes and streams.

The Water Environment Federation notified University of Idaho environmental chemist Greg Moller and Blue Water Technologies Chief Technology Officer Remy Newcombe that the scientific team won the award. It was be presented Oct. 13 at the federation's annual technical exhibition and conference in Orlando, Fla.

Moller and Newcombe developed the process for phosphorus removal while conducting research at the University of Idaho. Newcombe earned her doctorate in civil engineering from Idaho in 2003.

"This award is exciting because it recognizes research that involved scientists from several disciplines and included student research experience," Moller said. The award validates that research conducted in Idaho promises to advance wastewater treatment technology and the quality of public waters.

The Eddy Wastewater Principles and Processes Medal honors research that makes a vital contribution to the existing knowledge of the fundamental principles or process of wastewater treatment.

Blue Water Technologies in Hayden, Idaho, was founded in 2003 to commercialize the patented process. The company now employs 23.

"The close relationship with the university helped us early on as we developed," said Blue Water Technologies President Tom Daugherty. "This award is going to really add credibility to the phosphorus removal process and the science behind it."

After early years focused on research and development, the company moved into full commercialization of the process two years ago, Daugherty said.

Other team members from the university included Susan Childers, a geomicrobiology professor; Daniel Strawn, a soil chemistry professor; and Brian Hart, Analytical Sciences Laboratory organic group leader. Idaho alumna Tracy M. Grant also shared the award and now works for an environmental consulting firm.

The team also included Rebecca A. Rule, who contributed to the early research as an undergraduate at Moscow before graduating with a bachelor's degree in biological systems engineering. She also worked for Blue Water Technologies before earning a master's degree at the University of Washington.

The scientific papers outlining the treatment method's performance and the mechanism behind it were published in the journal Water Environment Research in 2008.

About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state's flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university's student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu

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