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Hands On Water Treatment Design

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.683.1 - 10.683.18

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Paper Authors

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Naomi Tillison

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David Hand

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Hands-On Learning of Water Treatment Design

Naomi L. Tillison, David W. Hand

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Michigan Technological University


The Environmental Process and Simulation Center (EPSC) was created at Michigan Technological University (MTU) with the aim of enhancing understanding of physical, chemical, and biological processes used in environmental engineering applications. In 2004, a hands-on design course for undergraduate environmental engineering students was offered for the first time utilizing MTU’s EPSC; the goal of this course was to provide students with valuable experiences of designing, operating, and analyzing treatment systems. Lessons learned in 2004 were applied to modify the course structure and assessment plan for the following year. The assessment plans along with the course objectives were critiqued using Bloom’s Taxonomy. The results of this evaluation led to recommendations for further refinement of the course.


A hands-on course focusing on the design of treatment systems was created at Michigan Technological University (MTU) with the aim of enhancing the transition of environmental engineering graduates into the workplace, as smooth transitions are lacking according to professionals from the field. This course (i.e., EPSC course) is held in the newly constructed Environmental Process and Simulation Center (EPSC), which was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), by industry partners of Dow, DuPont, Fisher-Rosemount, and Pepperl+Fuchs, and by MTU. The purpose of this paper is two-fold; it seeks to explore and evaluate assessment techniques and to determine if the EPSC course does indeed smooth the transition of graduates into the workplace.

The EPSC is a Unit Operations Laboratory (UOL) containing the following laboratory- or pilot- scale processes: (1) activated carbon adsorption, (2) advanced oxidation, (3) air stripping utilizing a packed tower, (4) ion exchange, (5) jar testing for coagulation/flocculation/ sedimentation system optimization, (6) activated sludge treatment using sequencing batch reactors (SBRs), and (7) a drinking water treatment plant (Table 1). The primary goal of the EPSC was to provide students with hands-on experience that allows them to apply the theory they have previously covered in other courses to real-world design scenarios; for this course, hands-on experience is defined as basic working knowledge of the environmental processes currently used in industry for air and water treatment1. This valuable exposure includes operating and analyzing some of EPA’s Best Available Treatment (BAT) and Best Conventional

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Tillison, N., & Hand, D. (2005, June), Hands On Water Treatment Design Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon.

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