a group of people posing for the cameraOn Tuesday, March 30th, 2021, the Lyle Senior Design Team took First Place in the virtual Student Design Competition, sponsored by the Water Environment Association of Texas (WEAT).  The regional student design competition is typically held during the annual Texas Water Conference. The winning presentation entitled, “Intercontinental Airport WWTP Improvements and Expansion Project”, consisted of increasing the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant, at the Houston airport, from 8 MGD to 11 MGD to accommodate the increased flow. The design report consists of treatment alternatives for Biological Nutrient Removal processes, solid handling processes, and odor-control technologies to ensure long-term sustainability for the plant.

WEFTEC, the Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition, and Conference is the largest conference of its kind in North America and offers water quality professionals from around the world the best water quality education and training available today. More than 20,000 people register for the event each year. Attendees travel from all corners of the globe to meet with thought leaders and attend technical sessions more than 3,000 registrants from more than 80 countries attended the event in the 2019 year.

Harshada Pednekar, a Graduate Research Analyst at the Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity,  served as Project Manager for the WEAT team. In addition to being responsible for communication as a primary contact, she also spearheaded the design options for the IAH wastewater treatment plant expansion. She had the opportunity to design the BNR process and technical report writing. Ms. Pednekar is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering. Currently, Ms. Pednekar is a teaching assistant for the Meteorology course. Also, previously she worked as TA for Geographical Information System and Lab & Field Method at Lyle school of engineering. Her combination of strong work ethic, academics, and fieldwork made her an asset in the improvement and expansion of the Intercontinental Airport WWTP.

In October 2021, the SMU team will go on to compete at the national level, representing the State of Texas, during the 94th Annual Water Environmental Federation Technical Exhibit and Conference (WEFTEC) Student Competition, in Chicago, Illinois.

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