The University of Southern California has awarded the 2007 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement to Gatze Lettinga, a Dutch scientist who invented an anaerobic wastewater treatment in the 1970s.
Lettinga chose not to patent his work, which made it available all over the world.
The technology is now used in three-quarters of the world’s anaerobic systems for treating industrial and residential wastewater.
In 1973 the prize was created by John C. and Alice Tyler, and is administered by the university with funds they donated. The prize consists of a $200,000 award and a gold medal, which will be presented in April.