Water Research Foundation Honors 2014 Research Innovation Awards at ACE14

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) announced the renaming of its Research Innovation Award in honor of Dr. Pankaj Parekh, a tireless advocate for ensuring safe drinking water to protect public health. The winners of the newly named Dr. Pankaj Parekh Research Innovation Award as well as two Outstanding Subscriber Awards for Applied Research were honored during WRF’s annual subscriber breakfast at the American Water Works Association’s annual conference, ACE14.

Dr. Parekh dedicated 28 years to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), serving in various roles including Manager of Water Quality Regulatory Affairs for 10 years and Director of Water Quality for 14 years. Prior to his service with the LADWP, Dr. Parekh spent 13 years working to improve public health by addressing a variety of environmental and drinking water challenges in Africa. In 2011, Dr. Parekh was badly injured in a motorcycle accident on his way to work. He fought with incredible determination to overcome his injuries and was eventually able to return to work at LADWP; however in January of 2014, he succumbed to injuries sustained in the motorcycle accident and passed away. He is survived by his wife, Anne and her two children.

This year, the Dr. Pankaj Parekh Research Innovation Award, which honors researchers and research teams who have made significant contributions to advancing the science of water through Foundation-sponsored research, was presented to Issam N. Najm, Ph.D., P.E. President, Water Quality & Treatment Solutions, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif.

Dr. Najm has played a key role in multiple WRF projects for nearly 30 years. His research advanced the knowledge and understanding of a broad range of topics, including: distribution systems water quality, disinfection byproduct control, ozonation, arsenic treatment, hexavalent chromium removal, and biological de-nitrification of groundwater.

“It is a great honor to receive this award,” said Dr. Najm. “A significant portion of my expertise and the expertise of many of my peers has been acquired from our work with the Water Research Foundation on projects that only it can fund. The Foundation has been a very positive influence on my work and the work of the entire water community.”

WRF’s Outstanding Subscriber Award for Applied Research honors subscribing utilities that have made notable improvements to their water treatment, delivery, and/or management processes through the successful application of Foundation research. This year, the award has been presented to two utilities, Louisville Water Company of Louisville, Kentucky, and the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Louisville Water Company is being honored for the utility’s storied history of contributions to water research, including decades of support to WRF. Louisville Water Company notably made early advancements in water treatment that helped set industry standards that lead to ground breaking advancements in protecting public health.

The Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority has played an active role in advancing research that has benefited the water community across a broad spectrum of issues, but most recently in the area of biofiltration. Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority used WRF research to test and implement biofiltration at its Mohawk Water Treatment Plant and have shared their experiences extensively with other water professionals and organizations.

“I am honored to present these awards to three very deserving recipients,” said Rob Renner, executive director of The Water Research Foundation. “The Foundation’s mission to advance the science of water can only be fully realized when researchers and utilities are doing work which advances our understanding of critical issues and the application of sound resources and proven solutions.”

Award nominations are accepted from WRF’s Board of Trustees, staff, subscribers, researchers and other partners and the Board of Trustees? Awards Committee selects each year?s winners. For additional information about WRF’s annual awards and past award winners, please visit www.WaterRF.org/awards.

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