A group of four students from The Henry Samueli School of Engineering represented UC Irvine at the 2011 Water Environment Federation (WEF) Wastewater Challenge at the WEF Residuals and Biosolids Conference in Sacramento and at the 2011 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Pacific Southwest Conference held on the campus of Cal State Los Angeles.
The group consisted of project leader Robert J. Davis, Garrett Kehoe, Daryl Santos and Wayne Wu and finished second in both the Environmental Design competition at the ASCE Pacific Southwest Conference and at the WEF Wastewater Challenge in Sacramento.
Each group was given a scenario of an emergency flooding of a local Biosolids Compost Facility and then given the task of designing an emergency wastewater treatment system given a limited amount of supplies and a limited amount of treatment time. The materials included items that were commonly found in a garage and the wastewater constituents were also known to participants.
The groups were asked to treat a total of 10 gallons of influent in one hour, with only 10 minutes given for all 10 gallons to physically enter the treatment system. The UC Irvine team design consisted of two 13 gallon trash cans that acted as the filter and catchment basin. The treatment system involved many levels of treatment and filtration including physical treatment through a layer of towel, weed control fabric and sand. A chemical treatment was used by adding a three percent hydrogen peroxide solution and adsorption with wood charcoal "carbon."
The group was awarded $1,000 and a plaque following their second place finish at the WEF Wastewater Challenge.