Volume 93, Issue 43

Tuesday, November 16, 1999


Patron stabbed at the Wave

Research to further pig/human transplant goals

CIBC donates $1 million to fund new programs

Project on garbage wins award

A glass of booze a day keeps the doctor away

Gas and fire cause false alarms, not panic

Chaplains to give peace a chance

Caught on campus


Project on garbage wins award

By Stephanie Cesca
Gazette Staff

Western's top garbage people will receive the 1999 award of excellence for research and development today from the Ministry of the Environment.

Kerry Rowe, chair of the civil and environmental engineering department at Western and head of the project, said his team looked into the effects of leachate, rain waters which have seeped through garbage in landfills.

The award recognizes the system his team created which prevents high amounts of contamination from leachate in landfill sites, he said. "If you don't control that, it will either leak through and contaminate ground water or it will overflow and contaminate surface water," Rowe said of leachate.

Typically, there is a gravel bed which lays under the waste and absorbs this leachate, he explained. However, this bed allows some leachate to pass through it, which contaminates the ground.

Furthermore, the gravel bed clogs since leachate contains nutrients which help bacteria grow, thus contaminating the ground more severely. "What we've been trying to do is make the bacteria work for us instead of against us," he explained.

In order to do so, Rowe said he and his team developed an engineering system where the bacteria is encouraged to sit on the top of the bed, making it easier to clean up the leachate.

Rowe said he was very pleased his team was going to be recognized with this award. "I'm happy to have worked with such a great team," he said, adding the award recognizes the collaborative effort of many hard-working individuals.

Dan Schultz, communications assistant for the Ministry, said the field for the annual award is very competitive. "There's usually a couple of hundred of applicants," he said, adding teams of both students and professors can apply.

Environment Minister Tony Clement will present the award, Schultz said, to recognize that Rowe and his team not only helped solve an environmental problem, but also developed increased knowledge in a particular environmental field.

Despite the high volume of applicants, Schultz said Rowe definitely had the best project.

Bill Bridger, Western's VP-research, said Rowe is one of the top landfill researchers in the world. "It's obviously very important to our environment that we get rid of garbage," he said. "This award doesn't come as a surprise at all."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999