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Environmental and Water Studies– Making Water Sustainable

Monday, July 10, 2017 - 7:00pm
Bishop Auditorium
Lathrop Library
518 Memorial Way
Stanford, CA 94305

Free and open to the public. No registration required. 

What makes water sustainable? Part of the answer is availability: there must be enough freshwater of the right quality to meet local demands. But that is not enough. The source of water must also be financially sustainable. One way to address this issue is to take advantage of the revenue value of wastewater – as a local source of freshwater, but also as a source of renewable energy, nutrients, materials, and even valuable information on community health. Emerging technologies could enable this recovery of these resources, but testing is needed at a believable scale and over a believable period of time. For wastewater treatment, this means treating hundreds of tons of wastewater per day over a period of months.

Academia is poorly equipped for such testing, and while wastewater utilities are equipped to do this, they are unlikely to do so if the technologies to be tested have the potential to be “disruptive”. Of greater interest to utilities are technologies that enable incremental improvements and can be implemented with minimum disruption and minimal cost. A strategy that could potentially address this issue is testing of promising technologies at pilot scale at wastewater treatment plants or at new testing facilities on campuses. For this to be possible, however, both academia (faculty, students) and practitioners (consultants, utility operators) will need to accept a level of risk and uncertainty that is higher than either group is currently accustomed to. Professor Criddle will try to persuade you that the benefits of such a collaboration are worth the risks, and could greatly improve water sustainability.

About the Speaker

Craig Criddle is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the Codiga Resource Recovery Center at Stanford University. He received his undergraduate and MS degrees from Utah State University and his PhD from Stanford University. His research focus is environmental biotechnology, and he teaches courses at Stanford on aquatic biogeochemistry, environmental biotechnology, and pathogens and disinfection. He began his academic career as a faculty member at Michigan State University. While there, he led a team of faculty, staff, students, and consultants in an award-winning field-scale demonstration of in-situ remediation of a carbon tetrachloride-contaminated aquifer. In 1998, he returned to Stanford where he led another team in a field-scale demonstration of uranium remediation. In recent years, he has focused on technology for recovery of clean water, renewable energy, and bioplastics from wastewater and other waste streams. He has mentored 32 doctoral students, advised 14 postdoctoral researchers, and published over 150 peer-reviewed publications.  Working with cartoonist Larry Gonick, Professor Criddle co-authored “The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry”, a popular supplement for high school-and freshman-level chemistry courses. As Director of the Codiga Resource Recovery Center, Criddle works with colleagues and practitioners to accelerate commercialization of promising technologies for resource recovery and to equip a new generation of practitioners with the know-how needed to successfully implement new technologies and to innovate beyond them.

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