Published: Sept. 27, 2019

WEFTECA team of environmental engineering students -- Brandon DaSilva, Powell Hinson, Rachel Knobbs, Lin Ye and Ryan Smith -- won the Water Environment Federation National Design Competition at WEFTEC, the world’s largest annual water quality exhibition! 

They are the third consecutive environmental engineering senior capstone team from CU Boulder to win this award at WEFTEC. 

The team’s project was titled “City of Gunnison Wastewater Treatment Plant Renovations for Future Regulatory Compliance.” They designed a solution to mitigate the effects of the high inflow and infiltration that the wastewater treatment system in Gunnison, Colorado, experiences each year during the spring. The inflow in Gunnison can dilute the wastewater, creating difficulty during the treatment process. 

The design involves submerging the existing mechanical aerators in oxidation ditches; adding baffles to create an anaerobic zone; installing dissolved oxygen (DO) probes in the basin connected to Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA); and adding variable frequency blowers for aeration to maintain conditions suitable for simultaneous nitrification/denitrification.

WEFTEC is the world’s largest annual water quality exhibition, where member associations of the Water Environment Federation select the best student chapter design teams to participate in the annual WEFTEC Design Competition. This year’s WEFTEC took place in Chicago, Ill.