Karissa Brunette, Guissel Davila, Finn Finucane, Lila Johnson and Nick Kallmyer took first place in the Global Water Stewardship category of the Central States Water Environment Association (CSWEA) Student Design Competition.

Since the beginning of the school year, these civil engineering majors have been preparing a design for the wastewater collection and treatment system in the community of Dominical, Costa Rica. They traveled to Madison, Wisconsin on April 10 to present their work. As the winners, they will next travel to St. Paul, Minnesota to give a presentation at the CSWEA Annual Meeting in May.

The students will travel to Costa Rica this summer to accompany the Global Water Stewardship team for site analysis and investigations. In addition, they’ll participate in the Water Environment Federation’s design competition at WEFTEC-2017 in Chicago, the world’s largest annual water quality technical conference and exhibition.

For the competition, the students focused their work on a dense portion of Dominical, Costa Rica on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It is a growing beach community surrounded by plantations, estuaries, mangroves and marshes. Much of the community is focused on tourists, and many locals also find employment through African oil palm plantations. Existing sanitation problems are being compounded as the area becomes more developed and welcomes more tourists. The students developed a solution to construct a centralized treatment system with a complete collection system.