Jun 19, 2012

Water Research Foundation Launches Two Award Programs

New awards recognize influential researchers and subscribing utilities for contributions to advancing science of water

At its annual Subscriber Breakfast on June 11, the Water Research Foundation announced the inaugural winners of two new award programs. The Research Innovation Award honors researchers and research teams who have made significant contributions to advancing the science of water through foundation-sponsored research. The Outstanding Subscriber Award for Applied Research honors subscribing utilities that have made notable improvements to their treatment, delivery and/or management processes through the successful application of foundation research.

This year’s Research Innovation Award was presented to Jennifer Clancy, Ph.D., of Tetra Tech Inc. Clancy made the discovery that low levels of ultraviolet (UV) light inactivate Cryptosporidium in water. Prior to her discovery, it was accepted and “proven” that these pathogens were resistant to UV light.

Cryptosporidium became widely recognized as a public health threat in the 1980s when thousands of people became ill as a result of outbreaks in Carrollton, Ga.; Swindon and Oxford, England; and in 1993, Milwaukee, where more than 100 people died. Clancy’s discovery led to major changes in drinking water regulations worldwide and it has provided significant improvements to public health protection from a parasite that is ubiquitous in the environment and difficult to control in treated drinking water supplies.

Two Outstanding Subscriber Awards for Applied Research were presented at this year’s event. The first went to American Water, which exhibited exemplary leadership in the development of important research as part of the investigation team on at least 14 foundation projects during the last five years. Its leadership on issues such as distribution system pressure management, metering, back flow prevention, corrosion control and microbial management has been particularly significant.

A second award was presented to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Its leadership and participation in more than 35 foundation projects during the last five years on a broad number of research topics has helped to ensure that the foundation's work is useful not only to New York City, but to the water community in general.

Award nominations are accepted from the foundation’s board of trustees, staff, subscribers, researchers and other partners. The foundation’s board of trustees’ awards committee selects each year’s winners.