| Department of Environmental Resources Engineering
January 2, 2013
As with most New Year resolutions, I am excited about the start of a new semester on January 14. Senior engineering students in ERE 489 will be facing project design challenges related to urban stream restoration, dam design standards, water supply for a village in a developing country, green infrastructure for stormwater management, and some brownfiield issues.The breadth of these projects demonstrates the underlying aptitude of ERE students to deal with complex contemporary issues as they prepare for their professional careers.
Speaking of which, I've recently heard from several alumni, and while the job market remains tight, they, too are starting successful career paths. We've got ERE alumni from 2012 engaged in entry level consulting practice, and one of my former ES students is doing energy audits for vineyards.
I had another appearance as a talking head on the local public TV show (Insight, Episode 132) about Redefining Garbage. My former MS student and entrepreneur Michael Amadori is also featured as he attempts to convert food waste into doggie treats at a commercial scale. Visit WCNY insight if you want to see the show.
Coincidentally, alternative means of managing food waste is entering the public consciousness as we look for alternative means of recovering energy and nutrients. See the NPR stories about vermicomposting food waste at the Charlotte Douglas Airport, for example. We can debate the implications of why a developed society discards so much food when there are so many poor in our own country, not to mention all of the other countries around the world. But, my engineering instincts drive me to seek practical solutions to an issue that isn't going away overnight.
My own engagement with innovative (esoteric?) management techniques began 15 years ago when we were investigating composting and vermicomposting for animal waste and retail grocery food waste. Like most projects, if you can overcome the energy and financial costs, you need a vocal and dedicated champion to ensure that the finished product is marketable and embraceable. And, unfortunately, there are too many failed projects in recent history (usually due to bad odors and vermin) that few people get warm and fuzzy when someone else starts talking about putting another waste management facility in their backyard.
DATE HEREType blog information here.