Prestigious Award for Innovative Water Quality Research


November 29, 2011

Volodymyr Tarabara, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, received the Paul L. Busch Award from the Water Environmental Research Foundation (WERF) at its annual Subscriber Luncheon in Los Angeles, Calif., in October. This prestigious award honors Busch, who led private and public development of water quality technology for more than 40 years as an environmental engineer. The award carries with it a $100,000 grant and recognizes outstanding individual or team of individuals who are conducting ground-breaking research that will lead to practical solutions to water quality problems.

A panel of nine WERF volunteers selected Tarabara from a field of 28 nominees. The selection committee represents some of the industry's most respected experts--including former Paul L. Busch Award winners.

Tarabara has distinguished himself in the membrane field, which is full of many outstanding scientists. He also has a strong publication record associated with his work on membrane separation processes and advanced materials for water treatment and reuse applications. Another area that Tarabara studies is the environmental impact of nanotechnologies.

Tarabara will use this award to validate innovative concepts that could lead to the widespread use of multifunctional membranes for a range of processes including the reduction or removal of halogens, nitrogen compounds, and salt.

"This work is on the design of membranes that not only serve as separation barriers but perform other useful functions as well," said Tarabara. "The main idea is to use functional nanoparticles and embed them into membrane materials in the form of hierarchical architectures. We believe we can control membrane structure and additional functions through manipulations at different levels in the hierarchy."

Tarabara often speaks of new directions in materials, addressing alternative applications of membranes to enhance water quality protection and recycling; and of using new social media approaches to continue collaborations and to teach.

WERF, a nonprofit organization formed in 1989, is America's leading independent scientific research organization dedicated to wastewater and storm water issues.

Award Description: 
Each year, the WERF Endowment for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research presents the Paul L. Busch Award to recognize outstanding individuals or teams whose ongoing efforts contribute significantly to water quality research and its practical application in the environment.
Civil & Environmental Engineering