City of San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly Win WEF Award for Collaboration

By City of San Luis Obispo, Members in the News, Wastewater News

A long-running local program that benefits the San Luis Obispo community and Cal Poly science and engineering students received international recognition on Oct. 19.

San Luis Obispo’s Sustainable Utilities Research and Education (SURE!) program, which is a partnership between City of San Luis Obispo’s Water Resource Recovery Facility and California Polytechnic State University, was awarded the Ralph Fuhrman Medal for Outstanding Water Quality Academic-Practice Collaboration at the Water Environmental Federation annual conference in Chicago.

“Our entire community benefits from this academic-industry partnership. It helps us recover valuable resources from wastewater, while also allowing science and engineering students to learn and practice research methods and water quality testing procedures at our fully operational Water Resource Recovery Facility,” said City Utilities Director Aaron Floyd.

The Water Environment Federation is an international association dedicated to water quality through technical and educational cooperation. Each year, the federation awards the Ralph Fuhrman Medal for extraordinary collaborative work that has made a positive impact on advancing the water quality profession by increasing the knowledge base, demonstrating the application of innovative scientific concepts or project implementation methods, and enhancing the relationship between academia and clean water practitioners.

Collaboration between the City of San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (credit: Cal Poly)

The SURE! program began in 2007 with the goal of providing sustainable solutions to renewable energy, wastewater recycling, and resource recovery. More than 2,200 Cal Poly students have since participated in the program, focusing on algae-based wastewater treatment, algae biofuels, conversion of wastewater solids to energy, potable re-use and dairy wastewater treatment. Each quarter, 50 to 100 undergraduate students participate in pilot plant operation, sample collection, sample analysis and data analysis at the City’s Water Resource Recovery Facility. To learn more about SURE! please visit the website at

To learn more about the WRRF, which is currently under major construction, please visit

For the original article, click HERE