Spring Green Expo - April 28, 2016
Spring Green Expo - April 28, 2016

2017 Eco Innovators’ Showcase Winners

Metropolitan Water District held its 10th annual Spring Green Expo on April 20, 2017. The purpose of the event is to raise public awareness of environmental issues and provide information through exhibits, seminars and materials on ways individuals can live and work in a more environmentally friendly manner.

A major highlight of the Expo is the Eco Innovators’ Showcase where Southern California college students can exhibit their sustainability related project work. The exhibits are separated into two categories, Individual and Team, and judged by a panel made up of engineers, architects and water resource specialists.

Winners for the group and individual categories are selected based on impact potential, concept/creativity, cost of implementation, and presentation.

The Expo also features an additional award called the ECO Spirit Award, which is based on passion, vision, collaboration, and altruism.

The 2017 Expo included 29 entries, from colleges and universities, representing Southern California.

The 2017 Winners are:


ECO Spirit Award

ECO Spirit Award Winners
Student: Adriana Avendano
Project: Purifora - a Marine Science Pavilion Bringing Awareness to Ocean Acidification
School: Art Center College of Design

Description: The Purifora pavilion is a coastal attraction open to all guests interested in ocean acidification. Purifora’s design is inspired by the porous nature of sea sponges and coral reefs, which are highly affected by the ocean’s acidity. The pavilion will be constructed by galvanized steel, hot rolled and riveted, to create to large tubes. It can withstand the harsh beach environment and attract visitors with its metallic surface. Holographic projections of reefs will be displayed inside the tubes and will inform visitors about our ocean’s acidity. Guests will also have the opportunity to produce eco-friendly messages that can be projected inside the tubes for all visitors to read. The second level will encompass a breathtaking view of the horizon, accessible by a staircase wrapping around the structure. Purifora will be a destination for students, families and marine biology enthusiasts, and an inspiration to those who wish to save our oceans.


Team Category

Team Category 1st Place Winners
1st Place
Student: Victoria Whitener, Cristina Echeverria
Project: Co-selective Effects of Wastewater Treatment Chlorination on Antibiotic Resistance in E. coli
School: University of California, Los Angeles

Description: This proposed work investigates technology to reduce pathogen persistence and antibiotic resistance in order to advance the safe use of recycled water as a solution to water and food security. For a suite of reclaimed water facilities with a range of disinfection and other treatment processes, we will evaluate levels of pathogens, antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), and other parameters through distribution; we will conduct experiments comparing inactivation of FIB and ARGs by various disinfection schemes. We will provide a web-based educational resource center on the relationships between food, environmental sustainability, and human health.

Team Category 2nd Place Winners
2nd place
Student: Bowen Du, Crystal Mena, Dannie Andrade, Joshua Pham, Justine L. Nguyen, Kyle J. Miller, Mohammad Modabernia, Pui Yuen Ng, Ryan J. Gar, Thuan N. Nguyen
Project: Solar-Powered Desalination and Purification System
School: Cal Poly Pomona

Description: Conservation of potable water has become a critical issue during southern California's drought crisis. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), brackish groundwater is located under a large portion of southwestern states. This water can be cleaned and used to relieve this increasing drought crisis. Desalination and purification of inland brackish water powered by solar energy can supply local regions with potable water while maintaining a zero carbon footprint. Our team has constructed a bench-scale desalination machine that can be further developed into a pilot-scale water purification system. Our process uses concentrated solar power to heat the water and reverse osmosis to desalinate the water. The addition of a water treatment system, including Ultraviolet Radiation, can enable us to clean a wider range of local water resources. This proposal involves a request to finance the technology needed to construct this additional water treatment system.

Team Category 3rd Place Winners
3rd place
Student:Sean Augustine, Nicolette Burtis, Tamilyn Chipeco, Kyvan Elep, Elizabeth Flowers, Hannah Francis, Cymbre Hoffman, Maria Hurtado, Derek Itagaki, Haley Miller, Kiyoko Nakatsui, Tessa Oliaro, Danielle Platt, Lauren Sato, Allison Scavo, Lotus Thai, Sara Wanous , Alliyah Thomas
Project: Creating a More Efficient Transportation System & Interdisciplinary Curriculum Across Chapman's Campus
School: Chapman University

Description: Our project consists of two separate projects: transportation and curriculum. The campus size and the student body at Chapman have been steadily increasing over the past decade, putting a strain on the transportation facilities provided for the university community. For this reason, the university must develop ways the growing number of commuter students and faculty can travel to and from campus in a way that is economically feasible, socially acceptable and environmentally sustainable. The second project is looking to implement environmental sustainable curriculum across a variety of majors and departments. We believe sustainability is an effective way to successfully marry environmental and earth sciences to sociology, business and economics. When creating the leaders of tomorrow, it is necessary for the future that these leaders are able to move forward in a manner that can be supported by our planet and society.


Individual Category

Individual Category 1st Place Winner
1st Place
Student: Tushar Jain
Project: Recovery of Water and Antiscalants from Reverse Osmosis Wastewater Concentrate
School: University of California Riverside

Description: Phosphorous is a valuable element that is essential as a fertilizer in agricultural and food industry. However, it has been speculated that the world phosphorus production from phosphate rock will inescapably decrease due to the depletion of its natural reserves. Reverse osmosis (RO) concentrate has a considerable level of organic phosphorous, mainly due to the application of phosphonate-based antiscalant to prevent scaling. High phosphorus content due to concentrate disposal can lead to eutrophication in receiving water bodies. Organic phosphonate compounds can mobilize potentially toxic metals in the receiving water. However, RO concentrate is typically discharged without recovering the phosphorous from organic phosphate in antiscalant. A hybrid adsorption-desorption-oxidation process is proposed in this study to concentrate phosphorus in its inorganic form on granular ferric hydroxide, recover it by subsequent desorption and convert it to valuable inorganic phosphorous minerals by chemical or enzymatic oxidation. Our preliminary results showed that essentially all phosphorus in antiscalant could be removed from the RO concentrate by adsorption. This unique process has a great potential for better desalination concentrate management, especially for inland desalination, reduce the effluent phosphorus concentration and produce valuable inorganic phosphate minerals simultaneously.

Individual Category 2nd Place Winner
2nd Place
Student: Stephanie Green
Project: Urban Fusion
School: Los Angeles Trade Technical College

Description: Many buildings around the world do not utilize their empty space. With hydroponic technologies, old and new architecture can become Urban Farms. Hydroponics offer a solution to the food and water shortages often present within traditional farming methods. Hydroponics systems are flexible and can easily be built to occupy empty space in both horizontal and vertical directions. “Green walls” are trending in modern interior décor with the use of vertical foliage along walls. They offer a great green aesthetic. However, most of these do not occupy enough space to grow food. Imagine an atrium of well-designed hydroponic systems in a building lobby that can also provide food for the restaurants within. Hydroponics are so flexible, they can be installed in any human occupied space. With this project, I am demonstrating how hydroponics can become the next generation of “green walls” in architecture.

Individual Category 3rd Place Winner
3rd Place
Student: Jamie Burkhard
Project: Water Infiltration and Pollutant Removal Efficiencies in the Ballona Creek Rain Gardens
School: Loyola Marymount University

Description: Biofiltration systems increasingly are utilized to capture and infiltrate contaminated runoff into soils where pollutants are sequestered and/or decomposed, and runoff infiltrates to groundwater. However, few data exist on pollutant removal efficiencies and water retention capabilities of these systems. During two rain seasons (three storms per season), we will measure pollutant removal and water infiltration in the Ballona Creek Rain Garden, one of the largest biofiltration systems in Los Angeles County. Input and discharge flows will be measured along with concentrations of key pollutants to determine mass loads entering the gardens and discharging into the creek, thus estimating removal efficiencies.