2003 US SJWP Winner's Abstracts
GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT TO REPRESENT U.S. IN
INTERNATIONAL STOCKHOLM JUNIOR WATER PRIZE COMPETITION
ceremony held Saturday, June 7, Heather Mispagel, of Athens,
Georgia, was named the U.S. winner of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP).
The senior from Oconee County High School was selected for her project, "Antibiotic Resistance from Sewage Oxidation Ponds", and was awarded
$2,500 and an all-expense paid trip to Stockholm, Sweden where she will
represent the United States in the international competition. Mispagel traced
antibiotics and genes coding for their resistance through treatment stages in
sewage oxidation ponds. Her project was selected from a pool of 37 state SJWP
winners who were selected by Water Environment Federation (WEF) Member
Associations. The competition took place in Dallas, TX, and was hosted by the
Water Environment Association of Texas.
"As a leading organization of
water quality professionals, WEF recognizes its responsibility to promote and
elevate youth interest in water environment science and research," remarks
President Robert McMillon. "We are proud to be the organizer
and grateful to ITT Industries and The Coca-Cola Company for their continued
support of the U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition."
documented five mobile home park sewage oxidation ponds in Clarke and Oconee
counties discharging high numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria into the
waterways of North Georgia. A survey revealed that many residents did not
complete antibiotic treatments and disposed of leftover medications into the
sewage system. In the pond discharges, resistance was found to more than
eighteen antibiotics. To further the study Mispagel developed a bioreactor model
to study oxidation pond function. Tetracycline resistant genes were detected.
These genes are usually found in human intestinal bacteria and spread rapidly
into the environment.
"Mispagel's study was well conceived and very well
executed," explains WEF Nomination Chair Dr. Charles Sorber.
"Her focus on removal of antibiotic resistant organisms from oxidation ponds has
world wide application." Mispagel's work has resulted in the implementation of a
public education program to educate residents of the mobile home community to
properly dispose of antibiotics to prevent future contamination.
to Mispagel, four U.S. finalists received $500 each. They include (listed in
alphabetical order by state):
Mispagel will compete in August against winners of 29 national
competitions for the international honors. This year six new countries will
enter the competition, which has grown each year since being founded. New
entrants for 2003 include China, Vietnam, Kenya, Cameroon, Russia and India.
Many of these countries, most notably China and Kenya, are currently facing
significant clean water shortage and access issues.
- Vijay Yanamadala, Palos Verdes Estates, California, Reclaiming the
Ecosystem: Eutrophication Control with calcium Carbonate (Phosphate-Binding
Ion-Exchange) Filters and Denitrification in Fresh Water Lakes;
- Kiana Frank, Kailua, Hawaii, The Effect of Agricultural and Residential
Runoff on the Microbiology of a Hawaiian Ahupua'a;
- Alexandra, Antonioli, Butte, Montana, An Investigation of the Remediation of
Berkeley Pit Water Using Genetically Modified Extremophilic Organisms;
- Sean Raj, Sugar Land, Texas, Bottled Water: How Safe Is
"While the global
water environment remains in peril, the future depends on our ability to manage
this life-sustaining resource. Today's youth are indeed tomorrow's leaders and
must be encouraged to pursue water-related careers or risk further erosion of
our scarce supply," said Tom Martin, senior vice president and
director of corporate relations, ITT Industries. "The Stockholm Junior Water
Prize helps meet that objective and is the reason ITT Industries has been a
proud sponsor since its inception as an international competition seven years
The winner of the international competition will be chosen based
on the quality and relevance of the student's project. HRH Crown Princess
Victoria of Sweden will bestow the prize on August 12 during a ceremony held in
conjunction with the Stockholm Water Symposium. The laureate will receive a
$5,000 scholarship and a crystal sculpture.
For more information about the Stockholm Junior Water Prize,
please contact WEF Senior Manager of Public Education Lorraine Loken at