Wednesday 7 December 2022
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RIT Professor’s Waste Expertise Enlisted for Trump Golf Course

Close up of golf ball on greenAn RIT professor who has made a name for himself with his waste management innovations has now captured the attention of Donald Trump’s corporation.

According to a February 26 Democrat and Chronicle article, Jeffrey Lodge, associate professor of biological sciences, devised a method that uses algae to clean wastewater, among other sustainable waste treatment techniques.

RIT alum Ed Russo, who helps tackle environmental concerns at Trump’s golf courses, heard of Lodge’s work and has enlisted the professor’s waste management expertise.

Lodge will now travel to Miami, FL to help clean sewage wastewater at Trump Endeavor LLC’s Crandon Park Golf Course, using algae to absorb water contaminants and provide a less-expensive way to keep the public golf course green. Until now, the course’s management had to resort to using drinking water on its greens.

The Democrat and Chronicle reports that the wastewater would go through all the processes in a sewage treatment plant before being placed in a 20,000-gallon algae tank, which would absorb any remaining contaminants. If this system works as planned, the Crandon course, which uses 285,000 gallons of water each day, would have an additional source of water. Potential hurdles to this system include tree roots, which are a prevalent source of clogging and blockage within sewer lines.

The system has already been proven to work in a test tank at the Webster Wastewater Treatment Plant here in Rochester. Algae in a 1,000-gallon treatment tank successfully removed the remaining contaminants from wastewater that had already gone through a cleansing process.

“The results were very good,” said Ali Ogut, a mechanical engineering professor at RIT and Lodge’s frequent partner. “The nutrient levels were sharply lowered in four or five days.”

Lodge’s work at the Crandon Park Golf Course has the potential to open up more skilled labor positions for Florida’s Hispanic population, which is one of the country’s largest. According to the Fort Myers News-Press, employers in the construction and sewage industries have begun to market heavily through Spanish media.

However, before Lodge can implement his algae treatment system in Miami, the Trump organization must first receive approval for its proposal from the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department.