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Gary C. Schafran, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been awarded a $900,000 supplement to his U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistance Agreement titled "Evaluate Pilot and Full Scale Treatment Processes to Remove TBT from Industrial Waste Water."

This grant bring total funding for his project to $1.28 million through September 2002. Jaewan Yoon, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, serves as co-principal investigator for the project.

The goal of Schafran's research is to develop a new way of controlling TBT, a boat-paint additive so toxic that even minute quantities can kill and mutate marine life. Short for tributyltin, the chemical compound is one of the most effective tools for keeping barnacles and other growth from clinging to ship hulls and slowing them down. TBT paint covers the bottoms of an estimated 70 percent of the world's commercial fleet.

Schafran's treatment efforts to remove tributyltin from shipyard waters are proceeding at an accelerated pace as the December 2002 deadline to meet the commonwealth of Virginia's 50 parts per trillion discharge standard approaches.

Schafran's ongoing research in treating shipyard waters was highlighted at a special session on shipyard discharges and pollution prevention at the Oceans International 2001 Conference, held April 3-6, in Miami. He was invited to present the opening paper of the session and a second paper detailing the removal of copper and zinc from shipyard waters. Both papers were published in proceedings from the meeting's specialty session.

Schafran, who serves as the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering's environmental program director, was appointed to the state Department of Environmental Quality Science Advisory Committee in fall 2000. He also serves as the commonwealth's faculty representative on the Virginia Department of Health's Water Works Advisory Committee.

This article was posted on: November 27, 2001

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