The Rudolfs Medal was established in 1949 and is named after Willem Rudolfs, an active WEF member and primary force in industrial waste research. This award recognizes noteworthy accomplishments in any aspect of industrial waste management research published in WEF conference proceedings or periodicals. “Industries face increasing public, media, and regulatory scrutiny regarding how they source, treat, and manage water. Receiving the Rudolfs Medal is a great acknowledgment for CH2M Hill Water Business Group’s Industrial, Energy and Mining Platform, as it demonstrates our expertise in technology applications and innovation in the industrial water sector, and how we are helping our clients achieve regulatory compliance with more cost-effective solutions,” said Steve Gelman, Director of CH2M HILL Water Business Group’s Industrial, Energy and Mining Platform.

Mining operations are a major anthropogenic source of selenium release in the environment. The implementation of stringent selenium standards is challenging mining companies to investigate and implement new technologies to improve mine drainage water quality. An examination of the fate of selenium through treatment at the most minute level of detail is now critical. The award-winning paper addresses a CH2M Hill-led study that focuses on activities undertaken at a U.S. Appalachian mine facility to address issues associated with meeting compliance for selenium. The paper discusses a new innovative approach to selenium removal using FBR.

Application of FBR technology in biological water treatment has been utilized for over 20years, but more recent research, pilot studies and evaluations undertaken by CH2M Hill are defining and capturing the potential of this approach toward selenium reduction. The primary components of the process include anoxic/anaerobic FBR treatment for reduction of selenium, liquid solids separation, aerobic polishing and filtration. This system successfully achieves consistent discharge compliance at a reduced cost compared to other potential technologies (e.g., reverse osmosis) as well as within a smaller treatment system footprint necessary due to limited available space in the narrow valleys in the mountainous terrain. This project was at the forefront of the development of a more efficient, reduced footprint approach towards meeting the emerging and challenging water quality criteria for selenium.