WE&RF Volunteers and Researchers Recognized as 2016 WEF Fellows

On August 15, 2016, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) announced the 2016 WEF Fellows. Among those to be recognized this year are several long-time WE&RF researchers, subscribers, and volunteers. 

Alphabetically first on WEF’s list is Robert Bastian of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a supporter of WE&RF research for many years. Bob’s expertise has helped advance WE&RF research on water reuse and resource recovery. He has supported the utility of the future initiative and volunteered to help guide research on biosolids and the fate and transport of trace organic compounds. 

Charles Bott of the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) is also being honored this year. Charles has been a key participant in many WE&RF research projects driving the shift to full resource recovery from wastewater and stormwater. He serves as co-chairman of the Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) Steering Committee and was recently a member of the team recognized by EPA Region 3 Administrator, Sean Garvey, for many years of successful research partnership between HRSD, WE&RF, and the EPA.

Samuel Jeyanayagam of CH2M has been instrumental in forging a very strong bond between WEF Committees and WE&RF research. As one of this year’s honorees, Sam illustrates the significance of the partnership between WEF and WE&RF. As chairman of WEF committees, Sam has been able to drive the paradigm shift of the water resource recovery facility. He has recruited a very large number of volunteers to assist with WE&RF research in the areas of nutrient removal and recovery. Currently, Sam is involved as a researcher on several pivotal areas of resource recovery research.

Although a relatively new partner in WE&RF research, James Mihelcic of the University of South Florida (USF) leads an EPA-funded research center for nutrient removal that is closely aligned with WE&RF’s EPA-funded National Research Center for Resource Recovery and Nutrient Management. Jim’s ties with WE&RF research are strengthened through the participation of Jeanette Brown of Manhattan College who has been a WE&RF volunteer and researcher for many years and has recently become a significant supporter of LIFT. As a 2016 WEF Fellow, Jim Mihelcic will be able to continue to expand the close ties between the USF research center and WE&RF’s.

Paul L. Busch Award recipient, Paige Novak of the University of Minnesota, will also be recognized as a 2016 WEF Fellow. With the Busch award funding she received in 2007, Paige studied industries that processed plants or animals, looking at their effluent for six common phytoestrogens. The findings from that research blossomed into expansive studies of industrial wastewater and impacts on fisheries that will likely guide wastewater treatment in the future. Paige’s connection to both WE&RF and WEF will help the water community more widely disseminate the significant elements of her work.

Karen Pallansch of Alex Renew has been both a member of the WE&RF volunteer leadership and an industry leader. This 2016 WEF Fellow demonstrated the importance of the paradigm shift to resource recovery when she led the renaming of her utility to Alex Renew – illustrating the significant renewable resources in water once wasted. A former WE&RF Research Council Chair and WE&RF Board member, Karen committed many resources to participate in the nutrient removal and resource recovery research areas. Today, Alex Renew is one of the leaders in implementing innovation.

The current co-chairman of the WE&RF Research Council, Art Umble, of MWH Global, will also be recognized as a 2016 WEF Fellow. In addition to his volunteer role with WE&RF, Art chairs a WEF committee. As a long-time WE&RF subscriber and volunteer, Art’s ability to bind the knowledge of both organizations brings strength to the future direction of WE&RF research priorities. 

Involvement with research is one component of many WEF Fellows’ accomplishments. Over the course of many years, the WE&RF research portfolio has been enhanced by the contributions of these individuals. Their contributions will likely continue to be of significance in the years yet to come.