This past summer, University of Manitoba Undergraduate student Kelsey Smyth was awarded the ICAN-WISE scholarship which allowed her to perform research with her mentor Dr. Qiuyan Yuan in the Department of Civil Engineering.
Her research project focused on determining whether two types of wastewater stabilization ponds, facultative and aerated, were capable of effectively reducing effluent nutrient levels, specifically Nitrogen and Phosphorus, in order to satisfy new federal regulations as well as provincial requirements.
This research is particularly useful and relevant in rural and small communities, especially First Nation communities, as wastewater lagoons are the most commonly used method for wastewater treatment due to their low operating and maintenance costs.
She spent her summer collecting lagoon wastewater samples from two nearby communities and then proceeded to analyze these samples for typical wastewater quality parameters such as total suspended solids, chemical oxygen demand and various nutrient concentrations. Currently she is working with Dr. Yuan to publish an academic paper on her findings.
Her work is directly contributing to a better understanding of how the naturally occurring biological mechanisms in place in wastewater lagoons function under cold climate and during different seasons. She has also attended the 2016 International Prairie Student Conference which enhanced her knowledge and interest in environmental issues related to water, wastewater and solid waste.
This summer has expanded Kelsey’s understanding and interest in the importance of wastewater treatment in a maintaining a healthy environment. It has further inspired her to pursue a career in the Environmental Engineering field and continue to explore the world of research.