WERC

WERC: A Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development

"WERC is a national program with innovative and exciting research and educational opportunities for kindergarten through postgraduation."

-From the New Mexico State University WERC website

WERC: A Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development is a Department of Energy-related project that currently involves:

WERC's Environmental Design Contest is a unique example of WERC's innovative approach to solving real-world environmental problems.

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New Mexico Tech's Department of Environmental Engineering Participation in WERC's Environmental Design Contest

Year
Award
Task
Project Title
NMT Team Members

2003

2nd Place

Task 14

Reduction of Fecal Bacterial Load in Produce Irrigation Water using Peroxyacetic Acid

Sarah Loughney, Ashley Hendricks

2002

1st Place

Task 8

Remediation of Explosive Contaminated Soil through use of Zero-valent Iron and Spinach

David Ladner, Sara Lubchenco, Chris Micheal, Jermy Seiber

2001

1st Place

Task 11

Hydrofluoric Acid Recovery using Electrodialtic Bipolar Membranes

Lara Beasley, Andrea Estrada, Gordon Rueff, Charlotte Salazar

1999

2nd Place

Task 1

Mine Tailing Stabilization using Permeable Reactive Walls

Patrice Brun, Kelly Houston, Jermone Marez, Matthew Prange

1999

2nd Place

Task 2

Suppression and Immobilization of Radioactive Hazards Encountered During Deactivation and Decommissioning

Nathan Mease, Ian Sutton

1999

2nd Place

Task 3

Passive Dry Barrier Closure Cap: Solar Induced Through-circulation Drying of Infiltration

Beryl Barnes, Legena Briest, Cris Carson, Joe Fleming, Leah Stapp

1999

2nd Place

Overall

WERC Design Team Overall Award

Task 1, 2 and 3 Design Teams

1998

2nd Place

Task 2

Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Blasting of Plutonium Contaminated Concrete Second Place and Judge's Choice for Innovation

Scott Bisping, Steve Casey, April Cooley, Dominic Lees

1997

3rd Place

Task 3

Plutonium Contaminated HEPA Filter Remediation using High Gradient Magnetic Separation

Judge's Choice for Innovation

Tanya Hoogerwerf, Brian Konrad, Theresa Navigato, Sam Russell, Darrin Steed

1996

1st Place

Task 2

Treatment of Multi-contaminant Filter Waste by Mechanical Mass/Volume Reduction, Distillation, and Surface-modified Zeolite Ion Exchange

Best Design Paper

Vince Fusconi, Dan Marshall, Greg Mathios, Angel Vega

1995

Innovation Award

Task 2

Electrokinetics and Supercritical Water Oxidation as a Method for the Treatment of Defense Related Waste

Judge's Choice for Innovation

Jonathan Becknell, Tacy Harling, David Jones, Kirk Jones, Patrick Radabaugh, Scott Vincen

1992

3rd Place

Overall

Remediation of Organically-bound Lead, Hexavalent Chromium, Diesel Fuel, Trichlorethylene, and Uranium Contaminated Soil by Soil Washing, Froth Flotation, Acetate Leaching and Thickening

Steve Gwin, Karen Mendell, Thomas Poth, Rebecca Raven, Sarah Tenario, Dagmar von Klinggraff

1991

1st Place

Overall

Treatment of Trichloroethylene, 1,2-Dichloroethane, Hexavalent Chromium, and Fluoride Contaminated Wastewater

Best Design Paper and Best Presentation

Richard Bell, Craig Corey, Joost Reidel, Roland Rivers, Andrew O'Rourke, Thomas Seifert, Sharon Williamson


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The 2002 WERC Design Contest Team
The 2002 WERC Environmental Design Contest Team. From left to right: David Ladner, Sara Lubchenco, Jeremy Siebert, Chris Michael.

NM Tech Environmental Design Team Places First

by George Zamora

SOCORRO, N.M., May 23, 2002 -- A team of New Mexico Tech environmental engineering students finished first in an environmental cleanup task at the 12th Annual Waste-Management Education and Research Consortium (WERC) International Environmental Design Contest, held last month at New Mexico State University.

New Mexico Tech team members David Ladner, Sara Lubchenco, Chris Michel, and Jeremy Siebert also were awarded $2,500 for the first-place design they submitted in the "Task 8" project.

The specific environmental problem posed in Task 8 required competing teams to detect explosives in soils in a hypothetical "Superfund" site that had once been used for military training, and then cleanup and remediate the soil contamination that ensued
from the use of explosives on the site.

The innovative solution presented by the New Mexico Tech team involved using zero-valent iron, along with spinach extract, to remediate the explosives-contaminated soils.

During the contest, about 40 teams comprised of more than 350 university and high school students from across North America demonstrated processes and equipment to remediate pollution problems similar to ones that could possibly occur in real-life situations in public, private, and government settings.

Written, oral, and poster presentations, as well as fully operational bench-scale models of the submitted designs, were presented by the teams in front of a panel of judges made up of more than 90 professionals from academia and industry.

Teams from New Mexico Tech have also fared well in past WERC environmental design contests, typically placing either first or second in their tasks since they first began competing in the WERC-sponsored competitions in the mid-1990s.

[NMT: NM Tech Environmental Design Team Places First]

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WERC Team Places Third

by George Zamora
The 1997 WERC Environmental Design Contest Team
The 1997 WERC Design Team. From left to right: Brian Conrad, Tonya Hoogerwerf, Daren Steed, Teresa Navigato, and Sam Russell.

LAS CRUCES -- A team of New Mexico Tech environmental engineering students took third-place and "most innovative design" honors in an environmental cleanup task at the recently held Seventh Annual Waste-Management Education and Research Consortium (WERC) Environmental Design Contest at New Mexico State University. The New Mexico Tech team also was awarded $2,000 for the third-place finish and $500 for presenting the most innovative technology used in the "Task III" project, which required teams to attempt a simulated cleanup of plutonium-contaminated High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters. The innovative design presented by the Tech team involved using high gradient magnetic separation to remove plutonium from HEPA filters. During the contest, 30 competing teams from 19 universities from across the nation demonstrated processes and equipment to remediate pollution problems similar to ones which possibly could occur in real-life situations in public and private sites in Idaho, Colorado, and Washington. Nearly 200 graduate and undergraduate students were asked to present design proposals, oral and poster presentations, and working bench-scale models to verify the design, functionality, and cost-effectiveness of their proposed solutions. The winners of the cleanup contest then were determined by "success" ratings scored by a panel of judges made up of over 60 professionals from academia, government, and industry. Montana Tech took first place honors overall, winning $10,000 in prize money. This year's high-placing New Mexico Tech environmental design team consisted of Tanya Hoogerwerf, Brian Konrad, Theresa Navigato, Sam Russel, and Darrin Steed--all seniors majoring in environmental engineering. Faculty advisor for the team was Clinton P. Richardson, associate professor of environmental engineering and chairman of Tech's mineral and environmental engineering department. Teams from New Mexico Tech always have fared well in past WERC Environmental Design Contests: last year's Tech team, for instance, took first-place honors in a Task II project. WERC was established in New Mexico to conduct education programs and provide technology development projects on better ways to handle, transport, process, and, ultimately, dispose of the various types of waste generated throughout the country. In addition to New Mexico Tech, WERC members include New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, and the Navajo Community College, in collaboration with Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories.

[NMT]

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