DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Water Research Foundation (WRF) announced today that it has awarded the 2015 Dr. Pankaj Parekh Research Innovation Award to Dr. Shane Snyder from the University of Arizona and two Outstanding Subscriber Awards for Applied Research to the Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) and the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD). Dr. Snyder and representatives from both Outstanding Subscriber Award recipients were honored during WRF’s annual subscriber breakfast at the American Water Works Association’s annual conference, ACE15.
The Dr. Pankaj Parekh Research Innovation Award honors researchers and research teams who have made significant contributions to advancing the science of water through WRF-sponsored projects. The award is named after Dr. Pankaj Parekh, a tireless advocate of water research who dedicated over 40 years of his life to ensuring safe drinking water and protecting public health. WRF’s Outstanding Subscriber Award for Applied Research honors subscribing utilities that have successfully applied WRF research to make notable improvements to their water treatment, delivery, and/or management processes. Both awards were created to celebrate the persistence and dedication of some of WRF’s most influential partners.
“The Water Research Foundation’s journey over the last 50 years has been paved by partnerships with programs and individuals like those honored here today,” said Rob Renner, executive director of the Water Research Foundation. “Dr. Snyder and the professionals at Philadelphia Water and Greater Cincinnati Water have been instrumental in helping us support the water community through the advancement of sound science. We applaud their work and thank them for their contributions.”
For nearly 20 years, Dr. Snyder’s research has focused on the identification and treatment of emerging water pollutants. Dr. Snyder has been actively involved with WRF for many years, serving as the Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on seven different research projects and volunteering on numerous other project committees all aimed at exploring and answering questions around exposure, detection, and filtration of various chemicals and contaminants in drinking water.
Dr. Snyder’s WRF-related research has established an impressive body of work that provides valuable insight and knowledge related to the occurrence, fate, and control of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs) and other chemicals in water. His evaluation of treatment processes to remove EDCs and other contaminants from drinking water led him to be one of six experts invited to testify before the U.S. Senate in 2008 regarding the growing public concern of pharmaceuticals in U.S. waters. Additionally, his contributions to WRF Project #3033, a state of knowledge report on EDCs and PPCPs (pharmaceuticals and personal care products), helped with the development of a comprehensive guide to aid utilities in discussing these topics with their customers and led to a series of groundbreaking projects that built on those findings for the further education of utilities across the country.
“I am deeply honored by this award. It is especially meaningful to me as I had the privilege to work with Pankaj, and to become friends through our WRF projects,” said Snyder. “Without question, WRF made it possible for us to conduct some of the earliest studies on the fate of emerging contaminants through various water treatment technologies. Moreover, the fact that water agencies from across the US were supporting these projects along with WRF unambiguously demonstrated the proactive efforts of our nation’s water agencies. I sincerely appreciate the opportunities I have had to conduct research in these emerging areas, and fully realize that much of our work would not have been possible without WRF and the water agencies who supported our projects.”
Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) has been a municipally-owned and operated utility since 1839. One of WRF’s original founding utilities, GCWW has participated in more than 100 WRF research projects since 1983. GCWW has conducted several WRF research projects, including one project focused on the development of distribution system water quality optimization plans and another that analyzed chemically-enhanced biological filtration to improve water quality. GCWW has helped drive research on addressing important infrastructure and operational issues facing utilities across the country. GCWW has not only guided projects that impact all aspects of a utility’s operations, but it has applied WRF research findings to create unique, tangible solutions. Most notably, GCWW used WRF research in the creation of its UV treatment system (noted in WRF Project #4040) and shared those results with WRF subscribers highlighting UV operations best practices.
“This is a great honor and tribute not to an individual person, but to an organization with a long-standing culture of wanting to understand its challenges, wanting to improve its practices, and wanting to share its own ideas and practices so that others may improve as well,” said Jeff Swertfeger, Superintendent of Water Quality at GCWW.
The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), which began providing water system service in 1801, currently provides integrated potable water, wastewater, and storm water services for more than 2 million people in the greater Philadelphia area. Like GCWW, PWD is a legacy WRF subscriber and has participated in more than 100 WRF projects. Among the many projects that PWD and WRF have collaborated on together, research around plant management and operations has had some of the most notable impacts. Research projects addressing surveillance and response protocols for water distribution systems, for example, have led many other utilities to tour the PWD facility to learn more about how they can utilize monitoring equipment and manage their own systems more effectively. PWD was one of the first U.S. organizations to actively consider risk management at an organizational level and patterned its efforts after WRF research.
“The partnership between Philadelphia Water and the Water Research Foundation provides our utility with the cutting edge knowledge we need to respond to today’s evolving customer concerns,” said John Muldowney, Director of Treatment Operations at PWD.
Award nominations are accepted from WRF’s Board of Trustees, staff, subscribers, researchers, and other water community partners, and the Board of Trustees’ Awards Committee selects each year’s winners. For additional information about WRF’s annual awards and past award winners, please visit www.WaterRF.org/awards.
About the Water Research Foundation
The Water Research Foundation is an internationally recognized leader in sponsoring research that supports the water community in holistically and cooperatively managing water from all sources to meet social, environmental, and economic needs. WRF’s research provides reliable and relevant solutions to the most critical challenges facing the water community today and into the future. Founded in 1966, WRF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has sponsored nearly 1,500 research projects valued at $500 million, and serves more than 1,000 subscribing organizations. For more information, go to www.WaterRF.org.