Research Objectives

To produce methods and tools for municipal water/wastewater utilities and municipal planning bodies to assess the economic benefit, social value, and energy efficiency of muncipal water and energy development processes. To utilize an interdisciplinary approach to conducting engineering research and to use research findings as a means to dissemenate information that can contribute to overall environmental quality, water resources management, and energy use.


Research Interests                                                                                                                                              

  • Biological Treatment Processes
    - From Waste to Energy
    - Biological Nutrient Removal
    - Indicator Organisms in Wastewater Treatment Processes
  • Water/Wastewater Treatment Processes
    - Enhanced Biological Nutrient Removal
    - Transient Phenomena and Sequencing Systems
    - Membrane Bioreactors
    - Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse
  • Optimization Methods
    - Optimization methods applied to biological engineered systems
    - Optimization methods applied to natural systems
  • Forest/Ecological Engineering and Management Practices
    - Urban Forestry and the Green Neighborhood
    - Decentralized Wastewater Facilities and Woody Biomass Production

Graduate Research Overview                                                                                                                   

     Integration of traditional biokinetic modeling equations with mixed integer nonlinear optimzation methods for triple
     bottom line optimization of wastewater treatment and reclamation facility design and operation.

     With the advisement of my faculty advisers Dr.'s Figueroa and Guerra I am conducting interdisciplinary engineering
     research focused on combining mixed integer nonlinear programing (MINLP) methods with water/wastewater
     design equations. This work will allow for the enhancement of existing computer based water/wastewater
     process simulation models by allowing for explicit optimization of facility design and operating parameters.
     Computer based optimization will allow for cost and energy minimizatin and the optimzation of "human capital"
     aspect of the triple bottom line.

Optimization and the Energy Water Nexus                                                                                                         

     In Progress
     In Progress

Membrane Fouling in Membrane Bioreactor Systems                                                                                                                                     

     Factorial experimental design to produce optimization model inputs using bench scale sequencing batch membrane bioreactors
     In Progress

Masters Level Research                                                                                                                                     

     Operation, Evaluation, and Mechanical Optimization of a Sequencing Batch Membrane Bioreactor System for Wastewater Treatment and Water Reuse
     In Progress

Undergraduate Research/Design                                                                                                                                     

     Sr. Design for erosion control and silt management in Sandy Bay, Roatan, Honduras
     In Progress

Presentations and Publications                                                                                                                                     

  • Podium Presentations and Proceedings Papers

  • Huggins, R., Drewes, J., Cath, T., Johnson, L. (2009). "Evaluation of a Full Scale Hybrid SequencingBatch/Membrane Bioreactor for Onsite Treatment of Domestic Wastewater." WEFTEC 2009. Orlando, FL, Water Environment Federation: 6918-6924.
  • Huggins, R., Drewes, J., Cath, T., Johnson, L. (2009). "Sequencing Batch Membrane Bioreactor Technology for Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Reuse." 24th WateReuse Symposium. Seattle WA, Water Reuse Association.

  • Educational and Regional Presentations

  • Huggins, R., Guerra, A., Figueroa L. (2011). "Mixed-Integer Nonlinear Optimization of Processes for operating Cost Minimization." 2011 RMSAWWA/RMWEA Joing Annual Conference, Loveland, CO.
  • Huggins, R., Guerra, A., Figueroa L. (2011). "Multi-Objective Optimization of Water Reuse Processes for Operating Cost Minimization." 8th Annual AWWA/WEF Rocky Mountain Student Research Conference, Albuquerque, NM.
  • Huggins, R., Drewes, J., Johnson, L. (2010). "Operating a Hybrid Sequencing MBR for Clustered Onsite Wastewater Treatment." Colorado Professionals in Onsite Wastewater Educational Conference, Denver, CO.
    - Link to 2010 CPOW Educational Conference Presentations
  • Huggins, R., Cath, T., Drewes, J. (2009). "Sequencing Batch Membrane Bioreactors for Wastewater Treatment." RMWEA/RMAWWA Water Reuse Workshop, Golden, CO.

    Professional Organizations                                                                                                              

    • Water Environment Federation (WEF)
    • Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association (RMWEA)
    • American Water Works Association (AWWA)
    • Rocky Mountain Section of the American Water Works Association (RMSAWWA)