Ryan Sitzes of Jackson, Mo., a junior in environmental engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla, won a Judge’s Choice Award for special effort, perseverance, determination and courage in a design contest hosted by WERC: A Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development at New Mexico State University April 2-6.
Sitzes worked on Task 5 of the eight challenges presented to the university teams: removal of tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) — a chemical used in lithography — from concentrated streams in the semi-conductor industries.
After use, TMAH is discharged to sanitary sewers. Although very little toxicity information exists at the present time, TMAH, which is soluble and dissolves rapidly in water, has been shown to be potentially toxic to ceriodaphnia dubia, commonly known as the “water flea.”
Teams from Hungary, Canada, Mexico and the United States participated in the 16th annual environmental design contest, which is the only one in the world that provides a competitive challenge and means of interaction for university and high school students and practicing professionals involved in environmentally based fields. This is the first time a UMR student has participated in the contest.
The WERC consortium consists of NMSU (administrative location), the University of New Mexico, New Mexico Tech, Dine College and Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories.