Mar. 3, 2023

Congratulations to former UNLV engineering master’s student Padmanabhan ‘Pad’ Krishnaswamy for earning a top honor from the American Water Works Association (AWWA). He earned the 2023 Academic Achievement Award for having the best master’s thesis, taking the top spot both regionally and nationally.

AWWA is an international non-profit dedicated to keeping our drinking water safe through professional development, management and education services to water supply professionals. And this award year, Pad helped further our knowledge of ‘disinfection byproducts’. During the pandemic, the use of cleaning supplies increased, especially those containing a type of nitrogen-containing surfactant. He found that these surfactants can form harmful disinfection byproducts if they get into drinking water supplies.

Pad’s thesis heightened our awareness of these chemical byproducts and can help us reduce their prevalence. Pad tested compounds that others had not looked at before to determine their potential to form disinfection byproducts with common disinfection practices. His work is enlightening researchers to the potential downside of increased surfactant use, and now they can work on methods to reduce them during wastewater treatment.

The award will be presented at the AWWA Annual Conference and Exposition this June in Toronto.

This is the second time UNLV master’s students have earned national recognition from AWWA, with fellow engineering student Alicia Qiu Cheung placing as the national runner-up during the 2021 award year.