Winners are acknowledged for major contributions to the technology of ground water science, and for excellence in design that promotes safety and efficiency.

2006 Technology Award

Dr. Robert Mace of the Texas Water Development Board in Austin has received the National Ground Water Association’s (NGWA) 2006 Technology Award for major contributions to the technology of ground water science.

The award recognizes Dr. Mace’s role in pioneering the use of ground water modeling – the use of data and computer models – to inform policy makers and citizens about the state of ground water in Texas now and in the future.

Hired by the Texas Water Development Board in 1999, he worked on developing, calibrating and running an early version of a computer model of the Hill Country portion of the Trinity Aquifer. Dr. Mace then established a program to support his staff in completing aquifer models in house. He subsequently trained staff to supervise external contractors developing ground water availability models for all major and minor aquifers in the state.

As a result, computer models have been developed for aquifers covering 73 percent of the state and encompassing 95 percent of ground water produced in the state.

The ground water availability models provide vital scientific tools to ground water conservation districts, regional water planning groups, regional water suppliers and other groups as they assess policy options and plan to meet future ground water needs.

“Dr. Mace’s work to assess aquifers through computer modeling is important, not only for how it helps Texas make wise policy decisions regarding ground water. It also shows other states how they can do the same,” says NGWA awards subcommittee chair Larry Lyons. “NGWA applauds his tireless efforts to make protect ground water for use by future generations of Texans.”

2006 Equipment Design Award

Sanford Britt of Fairport has received the NGWA 2006 Equipment Design Award presented to an individual or team for excellence in the design of equipment or a product that promotes safety as well as efficiency and ease of operation.

The award recognizes his development of the Snap Sampler ground water sampling device. Britt is principal hydrogeologist with ProHydro Inc. in Fairport, N.Y.

The Snap Sampler allows a ground water sample to be taken down in the well without exposing it to outside contaminants upon retrieval. Its double-ended bottles are triggered to close by a trip lever system operated from the well head.

Once retrieved, the bottles remain closed and can be submitted to the analytical laboratory without exposure to atmospheric air. Errors from sample handling and variations in sampling methodology are avoided with this device. Improved safety and lower cost is achieved with less field equipment to move and maintain.

Prior to forming ProHydro in 2004, Britt worked for the California Department of Toxic Substances Control as an engineering geologist.

“Mr. Britt exemplifies the kind of ingenuity and innovation that keeps pushing ground water industry technology to higher levels,” says Lyons. “By enabling ground water professionals to take more accurate samples, both science and water well owners are better served.”