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Agilent and UA Engineering Professor Partner on Water Safety and Sustainability

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(Photo: José Manuel Suárez)

Agilent and UA Engineering Professor Partner on Water Safety and Sustainability

Jan. 3, 2017
‘Thought Leader’ Shane Snyder and corporate funder collaborate to increase public trust in water reuse.

Agilent Technologies, a major supporter of research at the University of Arizona College of Engineering, has honored professor of chemical and environmental engineering Shane Snyder with the 2017 Agilent Thought Leader Award.

Shane Snyder

The award, announced by Agilent on Jan. 4, 2017, includes a significant monetary contribution and microarray equipment for Snyder and students working in his lab. With the new equipment, researchers will be able to expand methods for identifying and removing contaminants and further develop technologies for converting wastewater to drinking water.

“Without question, Agilent equipment has made a meaningful difference in our ability to better characterize environmental quality,” said Snyder, whose lab includes fluorometers, spectrophotometers and other equipment donated by Agilent. “This is especially critical as we continue to embark on potable water reuse.”

Snyder’s work will help ensure a clean and sustainable water supply for future generations, said Tori Richmond, a director of Segment Marketing at Agilent and executive sponsor of the award.

Improving Public Health and Public Trust

While interest in recycling municipal wastewater for potable, or drinkable, water is growing, many byproducts of the treatment process remain unidentified, Snyder said.

“Considering the magnitude of chemical contaminants possible in wastewater, and the nearly infinite number of potential products created during water treatment, the only way forward for comprehensive monitoring is a combined approach of rapid bioassays for evaluating toxicity and advanced, non-targeted analysis for elucidating structure,” said Snyder, who has joint appointments in the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Heath and College of Science and is a member of the UA BIO5 Institute.

“This award from Agilent will allow our team to develop tools that increase public trust in potable water reuse projects by providing an additional level of assurance that a more comprehensive, and human-relevant, monitoring program is being employed to ensure water safety and security,” he said.

Snyder is co-director of the UA Water & Energy Sustainable Technology, or WEST Center, a water-treatment research unit at the Pima County, Arizona, Agua Nueva Water Reclamation Facility. Partnering with the engineering firm CH2M and Tucson Water, Snyder co-led a pilot system developed at WEST to convert wastewater into high-quality drinking water. The system was named 2016 WateReuse Arizona Project of the Year.

Snyder serves on the World Health Organization Drinking Water Advisory Panel and two committees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In 2016 he was named a fellow of the International Water Association.

The Agilent Thought Leader Award Program promotes fundamental scientific advancements in research of importance to Agilent by contributing financial support, products and expertise to selected individuals.