Ovivo’s Women for Water presents: Ashwini Khare
Leading an Innovative Technology for a Sustainable Environment
If you attended the NYWEA (New York Water Environment Association) conference – Central, Upstate, Long Island or Greater Buffalo area or CMOM (Capacity, Management, Operations & Maintenance) conference in Austin in 2021/2022, there is a good chance that you may have attended a presentation by Ashwini Khare, our Group Manager – Wastewater Solids Separation & Reuse at Ovivo. She presented researches demonstrating how membranes are changing the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) / Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Treatment. Pilot testing data, process description, design considerations, as well as technology comparisons were presented.
You couldn’t have a more knowledgeable person to present Ovivo’s patented stormBLOXTM technology that utilizes Silicon Carbide membrane technology to solve problems of Wet Weather Treatment. Ashwini has been working with membrane technologies for over 14 years. She has presented on stormBLOX and Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) technology at numerous conferences over the years. She remembers her first visit to a MBR plant and the thrill to see how wastewater could be filtered into a high-quality effluent in minutes! It was an eye-opening moment when she saw a family of ducks swimming in the effluent discharge. This got her hooked to membrane-based water treatment ever since.
About Ashwini Khare
Ashwini is a Civil and Environmental Engineer with 20+ years of experience. She started her career with Ovivo in MBR Group in Austin, Texas, as a Project Manager, followed by Process Design and Sales before being promoted to Group manager, managing a product line. She is also responsible for the development and advancement of Ovivo’s SiC membrane based innovative technologies for Wet Weather Treatment (stormBLOX) and Tertiary Treatment (ultraBLOXTM). She finds bringing new technology to the market both exciting and challenging.
Ashwini is on the Membrane Processes and Research Committee of AWWA (American Water Works Association). She also enjoyed being a mentor for a team on AquaHacking Challenge sponsored by Ovivo.
Mentoring a New Generation
Ashwini enjoys mentoring high school kids in an Engineering Design STEM class in Austin. She was surprised to see that the proportion of girls in the program hasn’t changed much since her time in Engineering School in India. She feels that it is crucial to help girls overcome the “imposter syndrome” and change the perception that Engineering is a man’s career. She also presented the journey of water from toilet to wastewater treatment and from water source to faucet to some Girl Scout and Boy Scout Groups creating awareness about careers in Water and Environment.
Her Career in Water
“I get immense satisfaction by working on technologies that can bring our ecosystem as close as possible to its natural state. Looking back, my entire career has been around some way of resource recovery – starting from biogas generation from wastewater and moving on to heat recovery, chemical recovery, water reuse and nutrient removal. I believe that stormBLOX technology has the potential to make a significant impact in improving our environment, keeping large volumes of raw sewage out of our waterways with limited use of chemicals. Another technology I am working on is ultraBLOX which allows for discharge of pure, clean water to our waterways, or it can be a reliable path to alternate sources of water in drought-stricken areas’’, said Ashwini as we spoke about her career.
Born and raised in Mumbai, Ashwini experienced firsthand the impact of having too little water or far too much, and often simultaneously. The wrath of excess water from never-ending monsoons that suddenly flood neighborhoods and concurrent lack of usable water taught her the value of water. She was happy to say: “Interestingly, I get to work on one technology that provides a solution for too much water and other for lack of water”.