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Ecological Engineering Capstone Project 2018

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
9 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on March 14, at 01:45 PM PDT
Project Owners

Team Updates 5

March 01, 2018

Team 5: Team EAU is making ample progress in testing and building of the prototype however several setbacks have prevented conclusions from being made. It was decided that heat welding HDPE together was not a reliable method for the sand filter -fluoride filter connection and PVC piping with elbow pieces were used instead. EAU is working on sealing the sand filter in preparation for the upscaling of the media filter so that the entire filtration system will be complete. When the TISAB tablets arrive, results from the column tests will be analyzed and conclusions will be made for the upscaling of the column.

Team 7: The past week we have been finishing up our prototype build and also continuing our testing of our filter media. We hope to be completely done with the prototype this week and be done testing by mid-week Week 8. Everything is coming together and we are really excited to see the end result of our design. 

Team updates 4: Making adjustements and design changes for success

February 22, 2018

Team 1: Filtered solutions has been working on column tests to see how the filtering media performs. So far the effluent has very minimal fluoride content which is promising. Other than mopping up a few spills things are going smoothly! We are all looking forward to the final results.

Team 3 has continued testing using the shaker table to ensure complete mixing within our samples. We have begun to reinforce our stand to increase stability and have attached our inlet and outlet spouts to our container. Once we finish testing our batch experiments we will determine the size of our prototype testing.

Team 5: Batch tests have been finished and it was determined that fired bentonite clay does not act as a sufficient media for fluoride removal. EAU is now in the process of column testing for the prototype. Downsized columns are being used to determine the efficiency of the media. The results from these tests will be used to design and upscale the prototype so that our column will be able to treat 50L of water per day for a month. In addition, team EAU has begun constructing parts of the prototype to streamline the building process once design parameters of the column are determined.

Team 6: This week we have finished building our bubbler and have conducted trials using it. The purpose of the bubbler is to mix the water as it is being treated so that all of the water can be treated not just the water in between the metal plates. Below is a photo of the bubbler. 

This last week we also went to a lab in the College of Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences to test our samples of water for aluminum. We used a argon gas spectrometer machine that measure the amount of aluminum present in the water by how much light is emitted. We found that aluminum was present in our samples and we are working on a solution to reduce the amount. 

Thank you again for your donations and interest in our Senior Design project.

Team 7: This past week we have been focused on column testing which will help us to estimate the lifetime of our filter. We have been working with peristaltic pumps to control our flow rate. Our next step is to get the pump operating at the flow rate we need to achieve the required residence time within our system. We are also nearly finished building our prototype. We have glued in the parts we 3D printed. The last thing we need to accomplish is to attach the two halves of our structure. We are looking forward to completing testing and the prototype build within the next week and a half! 

We are limited to three photos per post, so follow the teams by checking out more photos and VIDEOS on the BEE Facebook page:


Team updates 3 - adapting ideas as projects progress

February 19, 2018

Team 1: We have finished batch experiments after determining a maximum adsorption capacity. We have begun constructing a small scale prototype to determine how to control flow rate. We are planning to have a constructed prototype frame by the end of next week. If we have time we will test different pH for determining regeneration potential.


Team 3:  ARRM Engineering has adapted our testing protocols in the last week to hopefully achieve a higher adsorption capacity for our media. We have also begun to assemble our stand and are considering different modifications for a more stable structure. We will begin testing our prototype in the next week.


Team 5: This past week team EAU has made some steps in the right direction. We were able to complete another round of batch testing and begin work on parts of the prototype. We intend to test the new samples before the end of the week. As for the prototype, we have been testing the material properties of our high-density polyethylene to determine a practical way of connecting the fluoride filter column to our sand filter. In addition, we managed to get a portion of our clay powder fired, which we will put through a preliminary test and determine whether or not to invest time into it. 


Team 6: We have finished building our prototype and have been running trials that have been successfully removing fluoride. Below is a photo of our prototype set up using a glass fish tank and two metal plates attached to a power source. Another photo below shows one of the metal plates and how it has been degraded by the trials we have run. The system creates a cloudy sludge which was expected, the last image shows how the sludge forms in between the metal plates. Currently, our team is building a bubbler that will be placed at the bottom of the fish tank to mix the water as it is treated. Our team is very excited to be seeing results! Thank you for your contributions to our funding page.


Team 7: has been making good progress this week! We have constructed about 80% of our prototype and have a plan to continue testing our two media types, activated alumina and bone char. We are currently running calculations to determine specific aspects of our testing for breakthrough. We plan to start writing our final report next week and to start and finish testing.  Our team name is the Clean Water Warriors


We are limited to three photos per post, so follow the teams by checking out more photos on the BEE Facebook page:

Team Updates 2 - projects are moving quickly!

February 14, 2018

Team 1: Our team has finished our batch experiments. We will be looking at testing a scaled version of the column. We will also be beginning construction next week to create the full scale prototype.

Team 3: This week we started cutting aluminum to build the stand for the final prototype filter. In the lab, we worked on calibrating the fluoride probes which we hope to have more success with this weekend. We eliminated chitosan as a possible filter media because it was too fine-grained to work with.

Also in the lab this week, we began prepping for the fluoride absorption capacity and prolonged residence time tests that we will be performing with bone char this weekend. Prepping involved rinsing all our bone char samples – which you can see in the photos below.

Team 7: This week we have mainly been focused on our prototype build. We have done a lot of 3D printing in the OPENS lab and are nearly completed with that phase. We have ensured the bulk head fitting and all the piping in our filtration unit are water tight. We completed hydraulic conductivity testing and will use these results to help determine the grain size of the media needed in our system. Next week we look forward to finishing the rest of our media experiments! 


We are limited to three photos per post, so follow the teams by checking out more photos on the BEE Facebook page:

Team updates 1 - a lot has happened with their projects the first week

February 13, 2018

Team 1 - Filtered Solutions

We've familiarized ourselves with one of the two fluoride probes and conducted our first batch experiment of 24 samples to test fluoride adsorption capacity of bone char and activated alumina. We are currently working to develop a procedure to determine flow rate and retention time for next week.

Team 3

Our team has successfully measured the porosity of bonechar and chitosan this week. We will be moving on to testing fluoride concentrations and seasoning of our media in the upcoming week.

Team 5 - Engineered Aquatic Utilities

We are in the thick of testing our separate filter media. Batch tests have been implemented for both the Bonechar and Activated Alumina. The team is testing 3 different trials of 6, 8, and 10 ppm at intervals of 30 minutes from 0-120 minutes. The clay powder ordered came unfired, so we are pursuing a low-temp kiln on campus to fire at least 300 grams of Bentonite powder at 600 degrees C. Once this media is sintered, we will proceed with the batch experiments for the Bentonite clay. Once we have established the breakthrough curve for each media, we will move on to column testing to measure flow rate, prototype column sizing, and a more accurate adsorption capacity based on our design.

Team 6 - EcoTransformations

EcoTransformations is currently testing our fluoride filter prototype. Our design uses metal electrode plates placed in a tank of water that is contaminated with fluoride. The metal plates are connected to an electrical current and the fluoride ions are attracted and attach to the plate. Our team has enjoyed getting laboratory experience and building our physical model. The prototype's test results will help the team to design the full-scale community sized filter in Cameroon that will use solar panels as an energy source. Thank you for your donations.

Team 7 - Clean Water Warriors

To start out this term, the Clean Water Warriors have begun to construct our prototype. We have been fabricating the main structure for the filter and have had the chance to familiarize ourselves with both the OPENS Lab and the shop. We have also started to assemble our piping. Our next step is to complete testing of the filter media so we can compare different types and select the best one. Overall, we are feeling very optimistic about the direction our project is heading!

We are limited to three photos per post, so follow the teams by checking out more photos on the BEE Facebook page:

What we're doing and where we're going

February 05, 2018

This year's Senior Design class see record numbers with 27 Ecological Engineering seniors participating. Due to the class size the professors, Dr. John Selker and Dr. Ganti Murthy, decided to let the teams choose between one of two designs: developing a filter to remove toxic levels of Fluoride from well-water in Cameroon, or developing a nitrate-removing bio-reactor to treat the tile-line water from the OSU dairy facility fields. 

Each project had it's own set up unique challenges that the teams were going to have to solve.

Design Problem 1

Nitrates in agricultural runoff are a serious cause of non-point source pollution in the United States and around the world. A possible solution to this problem is to use woodchip bioreactors to denitrify the nitrates in the effluent water into nitrogen through bacterial action. Slow release of structural carbohydrates from wood acts as a source of carbon and energy for the anaerobic denitrifying bacteria. It has been found that the type of wood chips, hydraulic retention times, wood chip size, geometry of the wood chip bioreactor are all variables that impact the treatment efficiency. Technically there are many challenges in designing woodchip bioreactors, including seasonally variable inflows, fluctuations in the nitrate concentrations, microbial activity during cold months, and maintenance of conditions for optimal growth of the microbes for effective treatment to meet the discharge regulations.

In this project you will design a woodchip bioreactors to treat the effluent from a pasture irrigated with effluents from dairy barn at OSU. The objective is to minimize the concentration of nitrates at the outlet of the bioreactor. The system you are designing should be suitable for Willamette valley and a location where line-power electricity is available but may not have internet/cellular connectivity.

Some of the challenges are:

  1. Highly variable influent streams with variable nitrate concentrations.
  2. Robust operation under highly variable climatic conditions.
  3. Cause minimal disruption to existing farming activities.
  4. Multiple stakeholders and operators with differing needs and abilities.

The overall goal of this project is to design, develop and evaluate a wood chip bioreactor to reduce the effluent nitrate to <100 mg/L while minimizing the economic costs and environmental impacts of the proposed design. The proposed design must strive to minimize the need to alter existing farming practices.

Design Problem 2

Designing water filter to remove bacterial contamination and fluoride is a project that has received worldwide attention. The goal of this project is to make a water filter for household use in developing countries to remove bacteria, fluoride and arsenic.

Some of the challenges are:

  1. Highly variable input water quality.
  2. Robust operation under highly variable climatic conditions.
  3. Multiple stakeholders and operators with differing needs and abilities.

The overall goal of this project is to design, develop and evaluate a water filter to provide the drinking and cooking needs for a family of four while minimizing the economic costs and environmental impacts of the proposed design. The proposed design must strive to minimize the need to alter existing daily practices of people.

At a minimum both designs must include the following elements:

  1. Meet the safety and environmental regulatory requirements.
  2. Meet functionality constraints in terms of variable water quality, microbial and flouride reduction goals.
  3. Consider sourcing of materials for your water filter.
  4. Economic considerations in all designs (Capital versus operating costs, comparison to the current state of affairs).
  5. Scalability to accommodate different funding scenarios.

Thank you for all who have donated so far! We are excited about this year's projects and the chance for these amazing students to hone their engineering skills and take a project from start to finish - utilizing everything they've learned at OSU the past four years.

Choose a giving level



Provide key support to the students projects! They are burning through a lot of Fluoride tests.



Pays for food/lodging for one day/one student travel



Transportation and one night lodging for one student at the NORMS conference for Woodchip treatment of runoff.



Finance all the in-country costs of one student visiting India, OR sponsor one student to attend NORMS and have your name in the list of sponsors on their poster.



Buy half a ticket to India, OR sponsor two students to attend NORMS and have your name in the list of sponsors on their poster.



Pay for airfare for a student to visit India's fluoride treatment research center.

Our Crowdfunding Groups