WEST Center and Tucson receive spotlight for innovative work
The University of Arizona WEST Center was well represented during Arizona Water Association’s 91st Annual Conference. Tucson area utilities and individuals also gained recognition for their dedication and innovation in the work of ensuring a safe and consistent water supply to people in southern Arizona. The conference, held May 2-4 in Phoenix, AZ, provided professional development, continuing education, and technology transfer to support the Association’s vision of a “vibrant Arizona through safe, reliable water.”
During the May 2018 conference, University of Arizona graduate students, Aidan Foster and Christina Morrison, presented research being conducted at the WEST Center.
- Mr. Foster’s project, “Fate of Viruses during Anammox Side Stream Treatment of Wastewater Effluent” aims to assess the effects of anammox treatment of high ammonia side stream water (centrate) from the Tres Rios Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) on the fate of viruses though the system. Aidan told conference attendees that two different mid-scale anammox reactors are being established at the WEST Center in a joint collaboration between the UofA, Pima County Wastewater, and WEST. Viral fate through these reactors will be assessed through molecular (qPCR) and cultural methods (cell culture).
- Ms. Morrison is conducting research on soil aquifer treatment (SAT), a type of managed aquifer recharge in which water is intentionally infiltrated through the soil into groundwater. While effective in removing many contaminant, one contaminant which is difficult to remove is human enteric viruses. The goal of her project, “Verification of Enteric Virus Removal by Soil Aquifer Treatment via Non-human Viruses Used as Conservative Indicators,” she said, is to search for a virus that can be used as a conservative indicator of enteric virus removal by SAT, such that the absence of the viral indicator would imply absence of human pathogenic virus.
In addition to introducing innovative projects developed by researchers at WEST Center, the conference recognized Tucson area contributions to water sustainability and public service through AZ Water Association awards. This year, we congratulate the following Tucson area winners!
- Tucson Water Department, Large System* of the Year
- Agua Nueva Water Reclamation Facility, Pima County – Treatment Plant of the Year-Large System
- Arizona Pure Water Brew Challenge by Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department, Tucson Water, Marana Water, UofA – Water Reuse Project of the Year
- Jesus Suarez, Tucson Water – Operations Leadership Award
- Robert Hackethal, Tucson Water – Operator of the Year-Treatment Plant, Small System
- Don Baker, Tucson Water – Operator of the Year-Large System
- Bob Arnold, UofA - Nathan Burbank Environmental Educator Award
- Steve Woolridge, Metro Water District – Maintenance Mechanic of the Year, Small System
- Job Order Master Agreement: Wastewater Conveyance System and Related Facilities Maintenance, Repair, Rehabilitation and Construction Services by Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department – Wastewater System Project of the Year
*Large System = facility serving > greater than 50,000 population