Oct 13, 2014

WERF Recognizes Virginia Tech Professor for Research

Amy J. Pruden, Ph.D., honored with WERF's Paul L. Busch Award

WERF Virginia Tech Professor Amy J. Pruden 2014 Paul L. Busch Award

On Tuesday, Sept. 30, the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) awarded Virginia Tech civil and environmental engineering professor Amy J. Pruden, Ph.D., with the Paul L. Busch Award. The award was presented at WEFTEC.14 in New Orleans during the celebration of WERF’s 25th anniversary.

The WERF Endowment for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research awarded $100,000 to Pruden for a research project that will inform best management practices for advancing water reuse and to address antibiotic resistance concerns. Pruden seeks to improve our understanding of antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs) in recycled water distribution systems.

New laboratory techniques have revealed that even “clean” and disinfected potable water distribution systems can provide a rich habitat for a variety of microbes. With the grant provided by the Paul L. Busch Award, Pruden wants to further examine factors that drive the increase of ARGs in recycled systems through a comparative study with potable systems to inform future engineering control efforts.

Members of the Paul L. Busch Award selection committee felt that this research has the potential to change disinfection system operation in the future. According to Joan B. Rose, Ph.D., Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University, “the global future of water security will be focused on reuse. The issue of antibiotic resistance will not just go away. Science is needed and solutions will be forthcoming because of Dr. Pruden’s work.”

Each year, WERF recognizes an outstanding individual or team of individuals whose ongoing efforts contribute significantly to water quality research and its practical application in the water environment, with the Paul L. Busch Award. The award carries a $100,000 grant from the WERF endowment to support and promote work that will bring new benefits to the water quality community (utilities, industries, environmental firms) and the water-using public it serves.