Date: Feb. 1, 2007
Contacts: Randy Atkins, Senior Media Relations Officer
202-334-1508; e-mail <email@example.com>
Cecile Gonzalez, Senior Media Relations Assistant
202-334-1678; e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
$1 Million Challenge to Provide Safe Drinking Water
The prize winners are recognized for the development, in-field verification, and dissemination of effective techniques for r
The prizes will be presented at a gala dinner in
Abul Hussam, an associate professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at
Arup K. SenGupta, John E. Greenleaf, Lee M. Blaney, Owen E. Boyd, Arun K. Deb, and the nonprofit organization Water For People will share the Grainger Challenge Silver Award of $200,000 for their community water treatment system. SenGupta is P.C. Rossin Senior Professor and a professor of chemical engineering and of civil and environmental engineering at
The Children's Safe Drinking Water Program at Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G),
The Gold Award-winning SONO filter is a point-of-use method for removing arsenic from drinking water. A top bucket is filled with locally available coarse river sand and a composite iron matrix (CIM). The sand filters coarse particles and imparts mechanical stability, while the CIM removes inorganic arsenic. The water then flows into a second bucket where it again filters through coarse river sand, then wood charcoal to remove organics, and finally through fine river sand and wet brick chips to remove fine particles and stabilize water flow. The SONO filter is now manufactured and used in
The system developed by the Silver Award-winning team is applied at a community's well head. Each arsenic removal unit serves about 300 households. Water is hand-pumped into a fixed-bed column, where it passes through activated alumina or hybrid anion exchanger (HAIX) to remove the arsenic. After passing through a chamber of graded gravel to remove particulates, the water is ready to drink. This system has been used in 160 locations in West Bengal, India. The water treatment units, including the activated alumina sorbent, are being manufactured in
The PUR™ purifier of water technology that won the Bronze Award combines chemicals for disinfection, coagulation, and flocculation in a sachet that can treat small batches of water in the home. It is simple, portable, and treats water from any source. First, the sachet contents are stirred into a 10 liter bucket of water for five minutes. As the water rests for another five minutes, arsenic and other contaminants separate out. The water is then poured through a clean cloth to filter out the contaminants. After another 20 minutes to complete the disinfection process, the water is safe to drink. As part of P&G's focal philanthropy program, the Children's Safe Water Drinking Program has worked with partners to provide 57 million sachets in more than 30 countries over the past three years, enough to purify more than 570 million liters of safe drinking water. Each sachet is about the cost of an egg.
The Search for a Solution to a Global Problem
Arsenic contamination is prevalent in neighboring
Arsenic poisoning is a slow, painful process that can ultimately result in cancer and death. Debilitating sores appear first and are followed by nerve damage, often in the hands and legs, which are especially sensitive to arsenic. Affected people can have difficulty working or even walking, and continued exposure can lead to liver failure, kidney failure, and the amputation of arms or legs.
"The primary purpose of the Grainger prize is to accelerate the development and dissemination of technologies that enhance social and environmental sustainability for the benefit of current and future generations," said NAE President Wm. A. Wulf. "The prize stimulates innovation, initiative, and marketing of good ideas. A complementary goal of the prize competition is to increase awareness within the U.S. engineering community of the importance of designing and engineering for sustainability, particularly in an international context, and to encourage and showcase efforts by U.S. engineers to bring sustainable technologies to the marketplace and to promote green design philosophies," Wulf added.
The goal of this particular challenge was chosen with the assistance of an advisory panel expert in the area of sustainable development. The selection of the recipients was made by a committee of Academy members with expertise in water chemistry, manufacturing, environmental engineering, and public health. Charles R. O'Melia, NAE member and Abel Wolman Professor of Environmental Engineering at
The Grainger Challenge Prize for Sustainability is made possible through the generous support of The Grainger Foundation. The prize was administered and managed by the National Academy of Engineering.
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The National Academy of Engineering is an independent, nonprofit institution. Its members consist of the nation's premier engineers, who are elected by their peers for seminal contributions to engineering. The academy provides leadership and guidance to government on the application of engineering resources to social, economic, and security problems. Established in 1964, NAE operates under the congressional charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1863.
The Grainger Foundation, of
A significant aspect of reviewing the finalists for the Grainger Challenge Prize was physical testing of the candidate systems. NAE and The Grainger Foundation wish to express deep appreciation to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Research and Development for hosting the testing at its National Risk Management Research Laboratory in
For additional information about the Grainger Challenge Prize for Sustainability, visit <www.graingerchallenge.org> or contact Randy Atkins, NAE senior media relations officer, at 202-334-1508 or <email@example.com>.
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[This news release is available on the World Wide Web at http://national-academies.org]