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Pioneering approach to wastewater treatment earns Stanford engineer the 2007 Stockholm Water Prize

Perry L. McCarty, professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, has been awarded the 2007 Stockholm Water Prize for pioneering work in the design and operation of water and wastewater systems. The prize, which was announced March 22 at the Swedish embassy in Washington, D.C., includes a $150,000 award and a crystal sculpture, which will be presented by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden on Aug. 16 in Stockholm.

The Stockholm Water Prize is presented annually by the Stockholm Water Institute for "outstanding water-related activities" in areas such as education, research and water management

"Professor McCarty has defined the field of environmental biotechnology that is the basis for small-scale and large-scale pollution control and safe drinking water systems," according to a citation written by the prize nominating committee. "[He] is a pioneer in the development of the understanding of biological processes in the safe supply and treatment of water."

A member of the Stanford faculty since 1962, McCarty is widely recognized for developing relatively economical wastewater treatment processes, in particular anaerobic (oxygen-less) treatment systems that rely on complex chemical reactions carried out by naturally occurring, beneficial microbes.

"What we've helped to do is to develop a much better understanding of the processes and ways organisms interact so that we can design reliable and efficient treatment systems for a variety of wastes, industrial as well as municipal," McCarty explained. "The efforts here have been concerned with treating wastewater in order to protect the ecological and drinking water resources of surface supplies such as rivers, lakes, and oceans."

He said that his work in anaerobic reactions also has led to wastewater treatment systems in which the main byproduct, methane, can be recaptured and used to power the treatment process, thus reducing the need for exte
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Contact: Mark Shwartz
mshwartz@stanford.edu
650-723-9296
Stanford University
22-Mar-2007


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