Water Environment Research Foundation Recognizes Virginia Tech Professor with Award for Cutting-Edge Research

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Virginia Tech Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor honored with WERF's prestigious Paul L. Busch Award.

On Tuesday September 30, The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) awarded Virginia Tech Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Amy J. Pruden, Ph.D. with the prestigious Paul L. Busch Award. The award was presented at WEFTEC in New Orleans, LA during the celebration of WERF’s 25th anniversary.

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

New laboratory techniques have revealed that even “clean” and disinfected potable water distribution (PWD) systems can provide a rich habitat for a variety of microbes. With the grant provided by the Paul L. Busch Award, Dr. 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 prestigious 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 they serve.

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The Water Environment Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed in 1989, is America's leading independent scientific research organization dedicated to wastewater and stormwater issues.

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Carrie Capuco
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