The Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize
"Nothing is more important than the careful stewardship and development of our water resources," said Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke, co-founder of NWRI.
Mrs. Clarke recognized the vital importance of water and strongly promoted better water science and technology.
In honor of Mrs. Clarke's vision, NWRI established the Clarke Prize in 1993 to honor outstanding individuals who have implemented better water science research and technology.
The Clarke Prize - a medallion and $50,000 award - is presented annually in the summer. As part of the award ceremony, the Clarke Prize recipient delivers the annual Clarke Lecture.
The Clarke Prize is:
- Distinguished by the International Congress of Distinguished Awards as one of the most prestigious awards in the world.
- One of only a dozen prizes that awards scholarly and practical achievements in water research.
- Awarded annually to an outstanding individual who is significantly contributing toward any of the following areas: the discovery, development, improvement, and/or understanding of the issues associated with water quality, quantity, technology, or public policy.
- Granted on the recommendation of the Clarke Prize Executive Committee.
- Not granted posthumously.
2013 Clarke Prize Recipient: Dr. Rhodes Trussell
Civil and environmental engineer R. Rhodes Trussell, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, NAE, was selected as the twentieth recipient of the NWRI Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for excellence in water research. Trussell is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Trussell Technologies, Inc., an environmental engineering consulting firm based in Pasadena, California.
Trussell was given the Clarke Prize because of his extraordinary accomplishments in using fundamental scientific principles and current research findings to solve the most challenging water quality problems and improve the designs of new water treatment plants and technologies.
Trussell has worked for over 40 years as a consulting engineer. Unique within the industry is his unusual breadth of expertise, as he is considered an authority on a vast number of treatment technologies, ranging from conventional treatments such as filtration, disinfection, and biological processes, to advanced treatment such as membranes and advanced oxidation. He is the author of peer-reviewed articles and technical reports on all of these topics, including the textbooks MWH's Water Treatment: Principles and Design and Principles of Water Treatment.
He has also worked on hundreds of water and wastewater engineering projects across the globe, and has developed the process design for treatment plants ranging in size from 1 to 900 million gallons per day in capacity. Because his focus is on implementing practical solutions to improve water quality and meet regulatory and public health needs, his efforts have resulted in better water policy and the widespread adoption and acceptance of many new treatment technologies.
A notable example involves his extensive work with the Contra Costa Water District in Concord, California, in the early 1980s to develop disinfection alternatives to meet new regulations for trihalomethanes (THMs). Disinfectants like chlorine are used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water. However, these disinfectants can react with naturally-occurring organic matter or bromide in raw water to create disinfection byproducts, such as THMs (many of which are considered carcinogenic). The Contra Costa studies were among the first to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of chloramination in controlling THM formation. Because of these efforts, the California Department of Public Health agreed to allow the use of chloramine to manage chlorine residual in treated water. Numerous other utilities throughout California followed this model, which was duplicated in nearly one-third of the water supplies in the U.S.
More recently, Trussell has been engaged in assisting water and wastewater utilities with managing complex water supply projects involving the use of advanced treatment technologies for applications such as desalination, groundwater replenishment, and potable reuse.
He has also taken the lead on a groundbreaking project funded by the WateReuse Research Foundation to develop treatment process combinations necessary to employ the direct potable reuse of highly purified wastewater as a new and reliable method to meet future water needs. One of the outcomes of this project is a 2013 report by an NWRI expert panel on Examining the Criteria for Direct Potable Reuse.
Because of his considerable knowledge and expertise, Trussell has been invited to serve on numerous prominent boards and committees throughout the water industry. For instance, he served as Chair of the Water Science and Technology Board for the National Academies, Chair of the Research Advisory Committee for the WateReuse Research Foundation, and Chair of the Editorial Advisory Board for Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. He was also active with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board for 17 years, including serving as Chair of the Committee on Drinking Water.
At present, Trussell serves on the NWRI expert panel to review the development and implementation of the Orange County Water District’s Groundwater Replenishment System, the largest indirect potable reuse project of its kind in the world.
He is also Chair of the National Research Council Committee on Water Reuse, which published the report Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater (2012). A major finding in the report was the conclusion that available technology can reduce chemical and microbial contaminants in recycled water to levels comparable to or lower than those present in many current drinking water supplies. Trussell has led the effort to disseminate the findings of this report, which is helping to advance water reuse practices in the U.S.
Trussell chose to donate the $50,000 award to his alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley, to support the Trussell Fellowship in Environmental Engineering, which was established by his family in 1991. The fellowship provides annual financial support to one or more outstanding graduate students in the Environmental Engineering Division of the College of Engineering.