Our Plant Philosophy

room Locally constructed using easily accessible materials settings Specifically designed to accommodate each unique environment
flash_off Operates without the use of electricity attach_money Optimized for low-cost and high-performance
message Provides plant operators with helpful feedback for every step of the treatment process layers Comprised of movable parts to allow for regular inspection and maintenance


Monroe Weber-Shirk

Dr. Monroe Weber-Shirk received his PhD in Environmental Engineering from Cornell University in 1992. His experiences working in Salvadoran refugee camps in Honduras helped shape his interest in sustainable technologies for safe drinking water.

In 2005 he founded the AguaClara program to address the need for sustainable municipal scale water treatment in resource poor communities. His investigations of the widespread failure of automated and mechanized water treatment plants have provided the impetus to develop a new approach to solve this global infrastructure problem.

He has guided the AguaClara team to invent a series of technologies that together make it possible to produce safe drinking water without using any electricity.

Picture of Monroe


Ruth Richardson

Richardson joined the faculty in January, 2002, after finishing her Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, where she also received her M.S. Her B.S. in Chemical Engineering was earned at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York. She has had internships as both a Chemical Engineer with Air Products and Chemicals and an Environmental Consultant with Malcolm Pirnie Consultants. She was introduced to laboratory research as an undergraduate through a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Grant, which was awarded to study the pathogenicity of various microorganisms isolated from HIV+ patients at Cornell's Weill Medical College/New York Hospital.

While at Berkeley, she enjoyed tenures as an NSF Graduate Fellow, an EPA STAR (Science to Achieve Results) Fellow, a University of California Toxic Substances Research and Teaching Program Trainee, a Tau Beta Pi Graduate Fellow, and an officer in the Microbiology Graduate Student Group. She also worked with the USEPA and the Army Corps of Engineers on treatability studies at a creosote-contaminated Superfund site in Washington State. Such experiences sparked and nurtured her interests in bioremediation, molecular biology, and the science/policy interface--especially in the areas of chemical and microbial contamination of water and soil.

At Cornell, Dr. Richardson's research has focused upon the application of molecular biological tools to improve basic understanding of microbes relevant to bioremediation, sustainable wastewater treatment and sustainable bioenergy and apply this understanding to the deployment of microbial processes in environmental and reactor systems.

Picture of Ruth