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UW Students Win National Design Competition

October 28, 2014
three men and one woman standing in front of a tiled wall
Members of the first-place University of Wyoming team are, from left, Dustin Wheeler, Sheridan; T. J. Gajda, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Jonathan Herrboldt, Rapid City, S.D.; and Madison Graulty, Lincoln, Neb.

A University of Wyoming student team won the wastewater design category and finished third overall in the Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) recent student design competition in New Orleans.

UW won last spring’s regional competition in Denver to earn the opportunity to compete at the WEF’s national technical exhibition and conference.

The UW team’s project, “Nutrient Removal at the Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility: A Comprehensive Approach,” won in the wastewater design category. For UW students, the project originates in the comprehensive design course in environmental engineering in the UW College of Engineering and Applied Science.  

The Hite facility in Denver provided a problem statement. The team was charged with removing the nutrient phosphorus to a very low level in anticipation of the client’s need to meet more stringent effluent standards. 

“As part of their project, the students prepared a design binder that details their proposed design, criteria they considered in selecting their design, an economic analysis of design alternatives, and an implementation plan,” says Professor Patricia Colberg, one of the team’s advisers, along with other Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering faculty members Michael Urynowicz and Bill Bellamy.

At both the regional and national competitions, the students gave a 20-minute oral presentation and answered questions from a panel of four judges. This was the second national win for a UW design team. UW placed first in the national competition in 2011.

Members of the UW winning team were T.J. Gajda, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Madison Graulty, Lincoln, Neb.; Jonathan Herrboldt, Rapid City, S.D., currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Texas-Austin; and Dustin Wheeler, Sheridan, now employed by DOWL HKM in Bozeman, Mont.

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