2020 CEC Innovation Award Winners Announced

March 10, 2021

Each year, CEC presents a trophy and cash award to individuals or groups of individuals who turn their innovative ideas into measurable value for CEC and our clients. The innovator(s) receive a trophy and a $5,000 cash prize.

This year, three winning innovations were selected. Congratulations to the winners!

Simplified PFAS Removal Technology

Ivan Cooper, Bruce Reilly (CEC Nashville) and Jon Kitchen (CEC Boston)

Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are manufactured chemicals that are found in many consumer products like cookware, packaging materials, and firefighting foams and are known as “forever chemicals” because of their resistance to breakdown. Our landfill client had expensive and limited options for the treatment and disposal of leachate liquids generated from the landfill that contained PFAS. This innovation involved a simplified treatment process for reducing the concentration of PFAS, allowing the client to treat the leachate at a publicly owned treatment facility at a lower cost than other options and meeting permit requirements.

Ivan Cooper, Bruce Reilly, Jon Kitchen

From left: Ivan Cooper and Bruce Reilly of CEC Nashville, and Jon Kitchen of CEC Boston


Method to Extend Depth of Cone Penetrometer Tests (CPT) for Landfills

Tim Mitchell (CEC Monroeville)

Landfills have significant waste volumes and significant depths and slopes that require detailed analysis to manage and direct activities for safer operations. The CPT is a field procedure used to obtain information about the strength of waste materials at landfills while performing slope stability analysis. This method typically has a depth limit of 75 feet, while the depth of the landfill wastes was more than 150 feet. Tim developed a procedure to extend the depth of the test to 150 feet while maintaining accuracy and addressing landfill gas safety concerns. This innovation offered a more detailed analysis of slope stability that improved our recommendations to the client for improving landfill operations. 

Mitchell, Tim

Tim Mitchell of CEC Monroeville


Slope Monitoring Data Evaluation Methods

Dave Spang (CEC Monroeville)

Operations at high hazard landfills, those with steep/tall slopes, require multiple data monitoring points to provide important information about potential slope movements. In this case, client expectations for this project site included timely analysis of data from more than 70 locations and recommendations for landfill operational action to limit the potential for slope failures. Dave developed a method that allowed the capture and analysis of data from the 70 locations, producing 400 graphs and calculations about potential slope movement within 15 minutes and presenting the information in graphical form. This innovation allowed for additional time for checking and analysis and improved deliverables for client communications. CEC is currently utilizing similar methods to estimate and monitor pore pressures within the waste mass based on liquid-level measurements from piezometers and landfill gas extraction wells.

Spang, Dave

Dave Spang of CEC Monroeville


Look back at previous winners: 2019 | 2018 | 2017

About the Author


CEC Staff

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC) provides comprehensive market-oriented consulting services to advance client strategic business objectives. CEC is recognized for delivering innovative design solutions and integrated expertise in air quality, civil engineering, ecological sciences, environmental engineering and sciences, manufacturing infrastructure services, survey/geospatial, waste management, and water resources.

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