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Students receive EPA P3 Award

A team of students from Cornell Engineering has been awarded an EPA P3 Award to support their development of a portable, high-rate, inexpensive water treatment unit for use in areas affected by emergencies.

The $14,901 award was given as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s P3 Grant Program. The P3 program is called A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity, and the Planet. The Cornell team consists of four Environmental Engineering majors: Kristin Chu ’15, Marlana Hinkley ’15 , Valerie Pietsch ’15 , and Ethan Keller ’15 . Monroe Weber-Shirk and Leonard Lion of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering are the principal investigators on the project.

The team’s project is one of just 42 funded by the P3 program in 2014. The team describes their objective as “to design a community-sized foam filtration water treatment system. Foam is a novel filtration medium that demonstrates advantages over sand filters in terms of porosity and density, and over membrane filters in terms of energy required. The proposed unit will be packaged as a kit that can be easily transported to areas that have been affected by disaster situations.”

The awarding of the grant is just the first phase of the P3 Competition. The team will have until April, 2015 to develop their idea. In April, they will bring their design to the National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, DC to compete for the P3 Award and grant of $90,000.

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