Dr. Stephanie Young Receives Innovation Award for Greywater Research

Stephanie YoungMay 4, 2010

In 2002, when the University of Regina announced that it would be constructing a new laboratory building, Dr. Stephanie Young had an idea for how the building could be made more environmentally sustainable:

“I’d been developing a new system for greywater reclamation utilizing a combination of advanced hollow-fibre membrane technology along with bioremediation.  I needed a place to develop a pilot testing facility, and the new Research and Innovation Centre seemed ideal.”

Greywater reclamation involves treating used water (basically any water that hasn’t been used for toilet flushing) and making it reusable. This type of water is typically called greywater.

Dr. Young's idea was met with great enthusiasm and was implemented with the installation of a dual piping system in the new building so that the greywater from bathroom sinks can be treated in her lab.  “We can purify the water to a quality that we can recirculate it into bathroom sinks, use it for toilet flushing, and even use it to water the lawns.”  Dr. Young is testing out several treatment plant designs and the best will soon be commercialized.

In recognition of the advancements Dr. Young and her team have made in developing this technology, Dr. Young received the Award of Innovation at the 2010 Paragon Awards.  The Award of Innovation, sponsored by Innovation Place Regina and administered through the University-Industry Liaison Office, "rewards and promotes the efforts of researchers involved in the commercialization of their research."

Of her receipt of the award, Dr. Young is quick to extend her deep appreciation to her research team (Dr. Daniel W. Smith, Alex Munoz, Aotian Xu, who contributed significantly to construction of the pilot plants, and graduate students Gary Lee, Jennifer Yang, Ray Lee, Wayne Chung, and Aihua Yang) and also to her family.

Enthusiastic in her description of her work, Dr. Young explains, “These plants are small, they are easily installed, easy to operate, and are ideal for large buildings, even airports and hospitals, and are also ideal for farms, acreages, and small rural communities.”

With Dr. Young's lab, the University of Regina can not only reduce the amount of fresh water used, but also can significantly reduce the amount of reusable water that is simply wasted as sewage: "These water treatment plants not only conserve fresh water, but they will reduce the load on sewers, which in many cities across North America are reaching their maximum capacity."