Peter Huck, a civil and environmental engineering professor and Industrial Research Chair in Water Treatment, was recently awarded more than $3 million to continue his research program at the University of Waterloo. As part of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Industrial Research Chair (IRC) program, Huck leads a group of researchers, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows addressing challenges in water treatment and supply. Their research directly supports water treatment organizations, and helps provide reliable drinking water to the Canadian public.
The program is funded jointly by NSERC and 17 Canadian industry partners, including municipal organizations responsible for water treatment and supply, consulting companies and manufacturers in the water treatment space. Huck and his team will be funded over a 5-year period.
Huck and his team provide leading-edge, practical research that addresses real issues faced by their industry partners.
“We actively collaborate with our partners,” says Huck. “They don’t just fund the projects – we work with them directly. We work in their facilities, and use their water in our research.” The researchers provide new information about water resources, treatment processes and distribution systems that are used by their partners. They also develop new solutions that can be directly applied to water treatment in Canada. Huck’s research is also extremely well regarded internationally, and results in publications in first rank journals and invitations to leading institutes and conferences.
The new funding will support three areas of research: preparing for adverse events, developing green and innovative technology, and minimizing the amount of lead in our water.
25 years of research
Huck established the IRC in Water Treatment 25 years ago. The program is in its sixth term – the first IRC to be continuously renewed by NSERC this many times.
“I started working in drinking water in the 1980s,” says Huck. “There was much less research happening in drinking water than there was in wastewater. The IRC program seemed like a good opportunity to involve municipal and private sector partners, while providing the support and funding we needed for research.”
The University of Waterloo submitted a proposal to NSERC for an IRC for Huck, helping him to establish the water treatment research program. He joined Waterloo in 1993 to start the program. “I’ve always been very appreciative of Waterloo’s strong support,” he says. “It’s been crucial to the work we do.”