The Water Research Foundation, or WRF, has presented the 2015 Dr. Pankaj Parekh Research Innovation Award to Shane Snyder, UA professor of chemical engineering. The foundation made the announcement June 8 at the American Water Works Association’s annual conference and exhibition in Anaheim, California.
The award honors researchers who have significantly advanced the science of water through WRF-sponsored projects. It is named after Pankaj Parekh, a tireless advocate of water research who dedicated more than 40 years of his life to ensuring safe drinking water and protecting public health.
“I am deeply honored by this award. It is especially meaningful to me as I had the privilege to work with Pankaj, and to become friends through our WRF projects,” Snyder said. “Without question, the Water Research Foundation made it possible for us to conduct some of the earliest studies on the fate of emerging contaminants through various water treatment technologies.”
For almost two decades, Snyder’s research teams have focused on the identification and treatment of emerging water pollutants. He has been involved with WRF for many years, serving as principal or co-principal investigator on seven research projects, and volunteering on numerous other project committees, all aimed at answering questions about exposure, detection, and filtration of various chemicals and contaminants in drinking water.
His evaluation of treatment processes to remove endocrine-disrupting compounds, and other contaminants from drinking water led to his invitation as one of six experts to testify before the U.S. Senate in 2008 amid growing public concern over pharmaceuticals in U.S. waters.
“The Water Research Foundation’s journey over the last 50 years has been paved by partnerships with programs and individuals like those honored here today,” said Rob Renner, executive director of the Water Research Foundation. Snyder co-founded and developed the Applied RD Center for the Southern Nevada Water Authority before joining the UA College of Engineering in 2010. He is a member of BIO5 and holds joint appointments in the department of soil, water and environmental science and the a Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, as well as co-directing the University’s Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants and the Water and Energy Sustainable Technology, or WEST facility.
Snyder also serves on the Drinking Water Committee of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board and the Drinking Water Advisory Group and Water Reuse Guideline Development Expert Panel of the World Health Organization. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council Committee on Water Reuse and has testified three times before the U.S. Congress on water quality issues.
In the last year alone, Snyder, who is a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore and an adjunct professor at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea, has presented at professional and academic conferences in more than a dozen countries. He is board certified by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, was listed as one of the “30 Leading Water Researchers” by Lux Research in 2013, and won the Best Paper Award from the Journal of the American Water Works Association in 2012. The nonprofit Water Research Foundation is an internationally recognized leader in sponsoring water research. Since its founding in 1966, it has sponsored nearly 1,500 research projects valued at $500 million.
Video of Shane Snyder's Keynote Speech (recorded in Tucson, Arizona)