International SJWP Winner Developed Method To Treat Water Contaminated with Oil

October 29, 2014

Achievements, Featured

Hayley Todesco receives the 2014 Stockholm Junior Water Prize from Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Photo courtesy of Jonas Borg.

Hayley Todesco (left) receives the 2014 Stockholm Junior Water Prize from Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Photo courtesy of Jonas Borg.

Hayley Todesco from Canada developed sand filters that treat wastewater in oil sands tailing ponds. She received the 2014 Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) for inventing the method that treats wastewater faster than typical processes, according to a Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI; Stockholm) news release.

Todesco said she took slow sand filters, traditionally used to treat drinking water, and tested them on wastewater. The bacteria that grow on the filters were shown to be effective at breaking down toxic waste. “I hope to spend a great deal of time in the lab to continue developing the method,” Todesco said. As international winner, Todesco received $15,000 and a prize sculpture, and her school received $5000.

In addition, a Diploma of Excellence and a $3000 prize were awarded to students Orawan Thasanabenjakul, Pannawat Peanjad, and Natthanicha Jairungsr from Thailand. The trio transformed wastewater generated during the production of raw natural rubber sheets to a valuable bioplastic.

From left, Deepika Kurup, the 2014 U.S. SJWP winner, describes her project to international competition attendees which includes Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) Executive Director Eileen O'Neill. WEF photo/Stevi Hunt-Cottrell.

From left, Deepika Kurup, the 2014 U.S. SJWP winner, describes her project to international competition attendees, which include Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) executive director Eileen O’Neill. WEF photo/Stevi Hunt-Cottrell.

Individuals or teams representing 29 countries competed in the 2014 SJWP International Competition included U.S. winner Deepika Kurup from Nashua, N.H. Kurup’s project, “A Novel Photocatalytic Pervious Composite for Degrading Organics and Inactivating Bacteria in Wastewater,” used two composite filters, one doped with silver, to treat wastewater. Read more about Kurup and the other U.S. SJWP award winners in the WEF Highlights article, “Second Time’s the Charm for 2014 U.S. SJWP Winner.”

SJWP is administered by SIWI, sponsored by Xylem Inc. (White Plains, N.Y.), and supported by Scandinavian Airlines System (Stockholm) and the Coca-Cola Environment Foundation (Atlanta). People Travel Group (Stockholm) and Europcar (Guyancourt, France) are official suppliers, and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is the patron of the SJWP. The Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) and its Member Associations organized the U.S. national, state, and regional SJWP competitions with support from Xylem Inc.

— Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights

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