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West High student receives Missouri American Water Quality Research Award

Missouri American Water has awarded its 2011 High School Water Quality Research Award to Mrigank Gupta, a junior at Parkway West High School. The award recognizes Gupta's research in creating working fuel cells powered by bacteria typically found in wastewater. His innovative research in creating renewable energy from wastewater was honored at the Junior Science Engineering and Humanities Symposium sponsored by the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

Gupta's research began with wastewater from a local wastewater treatment facility. The wastewater treatment process uses beneficial bacteria to consume the organic material found in the wastewater. Gupta reduced this biological process to a very small scale and was able to capture the energy created by the bacteria to power an electric fuel cell.

Gupta also experimented to improve the fuel cell's output by adding different types of carbohydrates to the process, enhancing the renewable energy efficiency of the cell.

This is the sixth year that Missouri American Water has offered the award through the University of Missouri St. Louis program.

"Mrigank's research illustrates the creativity that his generation will bring to address our nation's environmental challenges," said Cindy Hebenstreit, Missouri American Water director of water quality and environmental management. "His innovative and imaginative research could turn wastewater into renewable energy in the future."

About Missouri American Water
Missouri American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest publicly traded water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.5 million people.

Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 15 million people in more than 30 states, as well as parts of Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com