Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, November 15, 2000
Luthy receives McKee Medal for groundwater research

Richard G. Luthy has been awarded the Jack Edward McKee Medal for innovative research on the treatment of cyanide-contaminated groundwater.

Luthy, the Silas H. Palmer Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, received the medal at the annual conference of the Water Environment Federation in Anaheim on Oct. 17, along with co-researchers David Dzombak (Carnegie Mellon University), Rajat Ghosh (Thermo-Retec Corp.) and John Smith (Alcoa Corp.).

Luthy and his colleagues were recognized for developing a technique to remove iron cyanide from groundwater -- a common pollutant found near aluminum smelters and at other industrial sites.

"We place solid iron in the ground," says Luthy, "then, as contaminated groundwater flows by, it reacts with the iron forming a harmless, inert iron-cyanide precipitate that stays in the ground."

The McKee Medal -- named for former federation President Jack McKee -- is awarded for published research that makes a significant contribution to groundwater science or engineering.