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Environment Engineering Team Wins National Championship

October 25, 2011

The environmental engineering senior design team recently won the National Championship in the wastewater design division at the 2011 Water Environment Federation's national conference (WEFTEC) in Los Angeles, CA. The senior design competition originates from the capstone design elective in environmental engineering course (CE 4900) in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering. Team members included Darrin Harris of Louisville, Colorado, Emily Huth of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Colin Reinert of Alpine, Wyoming. The advisor for this year's team from UW was Dr. Jonathan Brant.

The students are given a problem statement from the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Association (RMSAWWA and WEA). Problem statements are supplied from municipalities and other professional organizations for consideration by representatives from the RMSAWWA and WEA sections for use as this year's problem statement. Each problem statement is a real-world engineering project that is, or will soon be, being competed by a professional firm. This year the University of Wyoming was charged with developing a preliminary design for upgrading the Littleton / Englewood Wastewater Treatment Plant in Littleton, CO for reducing the phosphorus concentration in their effluent down to 0.135 mg/L. As part of their project the students had to prepare a design binder that summarized their proposed design, the criteria that they considered in selecting their design, an economic analysis of the different design alternatives (3 alternatives were presented) that they considered, and an implementation plan for their design. Following the regional competition, which included teams from Colorado and Wyoming, the team from the University of Wyoming was selected to represent the Rocky Mountain Region at this year's national competition.

The national competition involved teams from seven other schools, each representing a different region from across the United States, and each with a unique problem statement, The University of Wyoming, which represents the Rocky Mountain Region, was joined by teams from Southern Methodist University, University of Guelph, University of North Dakota, University of North Florida, Utah State University, and Virginia Tech. The competition was made up of two components: i) the students had to prepare and submit a design binder and ii) present their design to a panel of judges in the form of a 20-min oral presentation followed by a 10-min question and answer period. The final standings from the national competition were as follows:

1. Wyoming
2. Utah State
3. Southern Methodist University (SMU)
4. University of Northern Florida

In addition to receiving a plaque commemorating their national championship the University of Wyoming team was awarded a cash prize of $2,500. The team would like to thank the College of Engineering and Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering for all of their support during the competition process. Specific thanks go to Dr. Patricia Colberg and Ryan Kobbe for their invaluable advice and support in preparing the oral presentations. Special thanks also go to Abigail Holmquist who was in charge of the regional design competition and for all of her assistance in preparing for the national competition. Finally, the team would also like to thank all of the staff from the Littleton / Englewood Wastewater Treatment Plant for preparing the problem statement and for all of their advice and suggestions during the competition process.


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