WERF to award $100,000 research grant

The WERF Endowment for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research is accepting applications for the Paul L. Busch Award, which carries with it a $100,000 research grant for researchers to continue their work, take risks, and explore new directions and benefits.

Apr 5th, 2004


Alexandria, Va., April 5, 2004 -- The WERF Endowment for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research is accepting applications for the Paul L. Busch Award, which carries with it a $100,000 research grant for researchers to continue their work, take risks, and explore new directions and benefits. Applications must be received by June 1, 2004.

Each year, the WERF Endowment presents the Paul L. Busch Award to recognize an outstanding and innovative individual or team who is conducting ground-breaking research that will lead to practical solutions to water quality problems. The award seeks to distinguish rising stars in scientific and engineering research in the fields of water quality and the water environment.

Previous winners include Professor David Sedlak of the University of California, Berkley, whose research focuses on cost-effectively removing wastewater-derived chemical contaminants from wastewater.

Specifically, Sedlak and his colleagues are developing a family of easily measured chemical probes that will be susceptible to removal by various mechanisms. During the past decade, Sedlak and his students have studied the fate of hormones and pharmaceuticals in conventional and advanced treatment systems and in engineered treatment wetlands.

As the Paul L. Busch award recipient for 2002, Dr. Lutgarde Raskin and her team are researching molecular tools that will let activated sludge plant operators control microbial communities responsible for the activated sludge foaming that prevents clear effluent. If Dr. Raskin's research is successful, the results will let new wastewater treatment plants address the lipid content unique to the plant's influent wastewater and make the appropriate changes in its design.

It could also lead to hand-held, microfluidic devices for providing on-the-fly adjustments within existing plants. Since her work as a researcher began just over 10 years ago, Dr. Raskin's findings have led to improved understanding of the relationship between system performance and microbial community structure in both anaerobic and aerobic waste treatment systems.

Dr. Nancy Love, the inaugural recipient of the Paul L. Busch award, is determined to provide the tools needed to respond to chemical stresses in the activated sludge process. Love and her students at Virginia Tech have been working for the past 10 years to elucidate the effects that certain chemical sources have on the activated sludge process. Ultimately, they hope to create a protein-based warning system that will let plant operators detect changes in the influent faster, prevent breakdowns, and optimize the treatment process.

"These young, talented individuals have contributed a great deal to the advancement of the water quality industry," said Glenn Reinhardt, executive director of WERF. "That kind of achievement is exactly what the Paul Busch Award seeks to recognize."

For more on the award, go to http://www.werf.org/Funding/endowment.cfm.

The Water Environment Research Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that addresses water quality issues with a commitment to environmental protection, economic conservancy, and enhanced quality of life. WERF Subscribers consist of wastewater utilities representing more than 60% of the U.S. sewered population and corporations sharing concerns for water quality issues.

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