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NC State student team snags 3rd place at WEF Student Design Competition

Dr. Francis de los Reyes with NC State student team

A team of CCEE students and recent graduates won third place at the 2022 Water Environment Federation (WEF) Student Design Competition at the 2022 WEF Technical Exhibition and Conference in New Orleans on October 9. The competition featured 25 teams from four countries representing 19 water environment associations. 

The design competition is intended to promote “real world” design experience for students interested in pursuing an education or career in the water and wastewater fields. Teams are tasked with evaluating alternatives, developing a comprehensive design, and presenting a solution that meets the requirements of a socially relevant problem statement. 

The NC State team, which included CCEE students B Deveau, Nathan Ellis, Shubhesh Mahadeo and Vie Villafuerte, was mentored by CCEE’s Glenn E. and Phyllis J. Futrell Distinguished Professor Dr. Francis de los Reyes and Dr. Z. Michael Wang, vice president of Hazen and Sawyer, who both teach CE 481 (Environmental Engineering Project). Other students who assisted with the senior design project included Ashlyn Wilson and Jack Christie.

“I thought they were excellent in presenting their project and handled the Q&A extremely well,” de los Reyes said. “But you never want to raise your expectations, as other groups did well too. I just know how much the students worked on this, so I was hoping for a good result. I am very proud of the team and how they persisted and stayed focused.”

The team, supported by NC Onewater, presented its senior design project “Expansion and Upgrade of the Graham County Wastewater Treatment Plant.” The design would increase the capacity of the North Carolina plant from 3.5 million gallons per day (MGD) to 5 MGD, while meeting more stringent organics, nitrogen and phosphorus limits. 

“Wastewater treatment is a crucial component of the protection of human and environmental health as it removes pollutants and bacteria from sources such as homes, industries and agriculture,” according to the project outline. “The expansion of this plant is imperative to mitigate the risk contaminated water would bring to the surrounding area.”