Water For People was awarded a Grainger Award by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for its work in arsenic removal from potable water in the West Bengal region of India, where millions of people are at risk from naturally occurring arsenic in the groundwater supplies.
The NAE, with the support of The Grainger Foundation, awarded Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards of $1,000,000, $200,000, and $100,000, respectively, to the winning systems. Water For People shared the Silver Award—and a $200,000 prize—with Lehigh University, which collaborated on the development of the sustainable arsenic removal technology that is being applied by Water For People in India.
Dr. Arup SenGupta and Lehigh University partnered in the submission of the application for the Grainger Award. Dr. SenGupta and his research assistants built a model of the filters that are used in West Bengal, India so that NAE could test the filter under laboratory conditions. Dr. SenGupta worked with Bengal Engineering and Science University in India to develop the technology that is being used by Water For People in West Bengal, India. The technology continues to be improved with an increased operational simplicity and minimal environmental impact.
Patrick McCann, president and CEO of Weston Solutions, Inc. accepted the award on behalf of Water For People and its board of directors. Water For People will use its $100,000 share of the prize to expand its arsenic abatement efforts in India. Prof. SenGupta will continue his research efforts to further enhance the efficiency of the arsenic removal systems and install similar community based systems in arsenic affected regions in Mexico and Bangladesh.