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Capstone Team wins NEWEA Student Design Competition

May 10, 2016

A group of students in the CEE department working on their Environmental capstone, Alston Pott, Greg Coyle, Andrew Gillen and Meghan Bruckman, won the NEWEA Student Design Competition (SDC) with their project “ Restoring the cycle: Northeastern University On-site Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse”. The event was organized by NEWEA Student Activity Committee and the team will be heading to New Orleans in September to compete at the National competition! Congratulation to the students and to their mentor Prof Onnis-Hayden and their capstone advisor Professor Ferdinand Hellweger!

This competition intended to promote “real world” design experience for students interested in pursuing an education and/or career in water engineering and sciences. The competition tasked teams of student members within NEWEA to design a project that they have worked on together as a team. Student teams submitted written reports and presented their finding in front of judges during the SDC reception and presentation, held on April 27 at Northeastern University. The competing teams were from Northeastern University, University of Rhode Island, and Wentworth Institute of Technology.

The winning Northeaster team project involved the design, construction, operation, and testing of a tidal wetland pilot system. To show full-scale feasibility, a conceptual tidal flow wetland treatment system was also designed to treat flows from three Northeastern dormitories. This design involves pre-screening, primary clarification, flow equalization, tidal wetlands, and UV disinfection, with the effluent treated to Massachusetts Class A water reuse standards for toilet flushing and surface irrigation. The team also created an educational website which highlights the wastewater reclamation system and addresses the stigma against reusing wastewater. The website address is

The competition was judged by an impartial panel consisting of members of academia, public agencies and private consulting practices, including CDM Smith, Tighe & Bond, Stantec, Wright-Pierce, Green Mountain Pipeline Services, Alpha Analytical, and New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. The judges evaluated the technical aspects, the appearance and structure of the written submittal, and the content organization and effectiveness of the presentation.

The winning team will receive a $1000 prize and travel allowance up to $2000 to travel to WEFTEC 16 in New Orleans, – September, 2016, where they will be presenting their projects at the National Water Environment Federation (WEF) Student Design Competition.