Louisville Water wins prestigious research paper award

Louisville Water wins prestigious research paper award
May 27, 2020

Louisville Water’s Water Quality and Research department was honored with the 2020 Samuel Arnold Greeley Award, the highest research paper award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The team’s research improves how utilities can maintain good water quality in the distribution system that delivers water to homes and businesses.

The paper on nitrification, ‘Decay Kinetics of Chlorite under Simulated Distribution System Conditions,’ was published in the Journal of Environmental Engineering in April 2019. It was written by Mongkolaya Rungvetvuthivitaya, a doctorate candidate and Louisville Water’s Director of Water Quality Dr. Rengao Song, Senior Scientist Mark Campbell, and Manager of Water Research Dr. Eric Zhu. Dr. Song was the research advisor for Rungvetvuthivitaya, who was a student at University of Hawaii. She conducted research for this paper under Dr. Song’s direction for more than five years.

This prestigious award is usually presented at the 2020 Environmental & Water Resources Institute Congress this month, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

“This award indicates that our nitrification research is not only leading the industry but also within the academics in the world,” said Dr. Song. "I am so proud of Louisville Water's leadership and our research team. Our President & CEO Spencer Bruce and Vice President & Chief Engineer Tim Kraus continue and enhance our great tradition of water quality and treatment research, so that Louisville Water is an industry leader. In addition, our research and technology team of Dr. Eric Zhu and Mark Campbell worked extremely hard with excellent results."        

This research paper outlines a model that can be used to help combat nitrification in Louisville Water’s distribution system. Nitrification is an undesirable chemical reaction that can occur in the water due to low water usage or warmer temperatures. To fight this, water is flushed from the system, causing millions of gallons of water loss annually. The model developed by Louisville Water’s research team will save money through less water waste from flushing and save field technicians’ time.

The ASCE started this award in 1968 in honor of Greeley, who was a past director. Papers are reviewed by a committee, which selects a nominee to present the executive committee of the ASCE Board of Direction. According to the ASCE, the Greeley Award is open to original papers, “dealing with the design, construction, operation or financing of water supply, pollution control, storm drainage or solid waste collection and disposal facilities.”