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City of SLO and Cal Poly win international award for collaboration 

Ralph Fuhrman Award SLO Cal Poly

Industry-academic program has been running for over a decade

–A long-running local program that benefits the San Luis Obispo community and California Polytechnic State University science and engineering students received international recognition on Oct. 19.

San Luis Obispo’s Sustainable Utilities Research and Education (SURE!) program, which is a partnership between the City of San Luis Obispo’s Water Resource Recovery Facility and California Polytechnic State University, was awarded the Ralph Fuhrman Medal for “Outstanding Water Quality Academic-Practice Collaboration” at the Water Environmental Federation annual conference in Chicago.

“Our entire community benefits from this academic-industry partnership. It helps us recover valuable resources from wastewater, while also allowing science and engineering students to learn and practice research methods and water quality testing procedures at our fully operational Water Resource Recovery Facility,” said City Utilities Director Aaron Floyd.

The Water Environment Federation is an international association dedicated to water quality through technical and educational cooperation. Each year, the federation awards the Ralph Fuhrman Medal for extraordinary collaborative work that has made a positive impact on advancing the water quality profession by increasing the knowledge base, demonstrating the application of innovative scientific concepts or project implementation methods, and enhancing the relationship between academia and clean water practitioners.

The SURE! program began in 2007 with the goal of providing sustainable solutions to renewable energy, wastewater recycling, and resource recovery. More than 2,200 Cal Poly students have since participated in the program, focusing on algae-based wastewater treatment, algae biofuels, conversion of wastewater solids to energy, potable re-use and dairy wastewater treatment. Each quarter, 50 to 100 undergraduate students participate in pilot plant operation, sample collection, sample analysis and data analysis at the City’s Water Resource Recovery Facility.

To learn more about SURE! visit the website at

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Staff reports are created by the A-Town Daily News. Staff wrote and edited this article from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Send newstips to

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