advancing the science of water ®

    Topics of Focus

  • Biosolids

    In the United States alone, billions of gallons of water are treated each day at wastewater treatment facilities. Once the water is clean, a different challenge remains: determining what to do with the solids that are removed during the treatment process. The resulting mixture is often a unique semi-solid blend of organic and inorganic materials, trace elements, chemicals, and even pathogens, so there is no across the board solution for handling and processing the combinations of constituents that may be present.

    Because these solids are often rich in nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus—which also happen to be the perfect ingredients for promoting healthy soil and plant growth—many facilities have turned to land application. Before these solids can be put to use for things like fertilizing farmland, however, they must undergo rigorous treatment to meet stringent regulations, at which point they become known as biosolids.  

    60 Projects 2 Web Tools 1 Webcast
    Project #4823
    Aquatic plants in a laboratory

    High Quality Biosolids from Wastewater

    $992,979
    In Progress

    Project Highlights

    The main objectives of this project were to define high-quality biosolids (HQB) criteria, create products that potential customers want and value, and develop a marketing template that water resource recovery facilities can use to characterize their local high-value fertilizer and...

    Principal Investigator
    Trudy
    Johnston
    Research Manager
    Dr. Kenan Ozekin
  • Climate Change

    Climate change is already altering the patterns of our natural hydrologic cycle, creating uncertainty when it comes to the quality and quantity of water sources—forcing utilities to rethink practices that have traditionally been effective and seek solutions for more unpredictable conditions. While it is clear that widespread shifts in weather patterns will continue in the foreseeable future, the rate and intensity are not fully known. Even seemingly slight temperature increases can set off a chain of negative effects, such as lower dissolved oxygen levels, higher contaminant loads, reduced stream flows, altered runoff timing, widespread algal blooms, and increased saltwater intrusion. 

    Adding to this challenge is the increased frequency of extreme weather, also linked to climate change. From drought to storms to tidal surges, these events can have devastating effects on critical water infrastructure. Because lack of access to clean, safe water is the single biggest threat to human health and economic livelihood, water service providers must be prepared to address these unstable weather conditions. 

    29 Projects 1 Web Tool 2 Case Studies 11 Webcasts
    Project #4636

    An Integrated Modeling and Decision Framework to Evaluate Adaptation Strategies for Sustainable Drinking Water Utility Management Under Drought and Climate Change

    $1,175,000
    In Progress

    Project Highlights

    This project developed an integrated framework to assess water quality and availability impacts under a suite of climate and natural hazards in the water supply watershed, along with evaluation of decision options. Research Partner: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Published in...

    Principal Investigator
    Rajagopalan
    Balaji
    Research Manager
    Dr. Kenan Ozekin
  • Cyanobacteria & Cyanotoxins

    Aquatic microscopic algae and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) occur naturally in most surface waters, however certain nutrient and temperature conditions can lead them to rapidly multiply, leading to “blooms.” Under certain conditions, some species of cyanobacteria can produce toxic secondary metabolites or cyanotoxins, which may pose health risks to humans and animals. Even when algae is not toxic, it can produce unpleasant tastes and odors.

    Cyanobacteria continue to be one of the most problematic organisms in our fresh water systems—with nearly a third of the United States reporting blooms. Without clear guidance or consensus regulations in place, many utilities struggle with responding to events. Since 1994, WRF has completed more than 30 research projects on these microscopic organisms and the cyanotoxins they produce, helping facilities detect, monitor, and manage these nuisance organisms—as well as communicate with the public.

    24 Projects 1 Web Tool 8 Webcasts
    Project #4692

    Release of Intracellular Cyanotoxins During Oxidation of Naturally Occurring and Lab-Cultured Cyanobacteria

    $262,000
    In Progress

    Project Highlights

    This project provides guidance to utilities regarding the release of intracellular cyanotoxins during oxidation of naturally occurring and lab-cultured cyanobacteria. This project: Summarizes the state-of-the-science regarding intracellular cyanotoxin release during oxidation processes Provides guidance regarding which lysing methods are optimal...

    Principal Investigator
    Eric
    Wert
    Research Manager
    Dr. Djanette Khiari
  • Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs)

    The use of strong oxidants to disinfect water has virtually eliminated waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, and dysentery in developed countries. However, research has shown that chlorine interacts with natural organic matter present in water supplies to form regulated and non-regulated disinfection byproducts (DBPs).

    To minimize the formation of regulated DBPs and comply with existing regulations, water utilities have increasingly been moving away from chlorine to use alternative disinfectants like chloramine, or installing more advanced and costly treatment processes, such as ozone or granular activated carbon to remove DBP precursors. However, while reducing the formation of halogenated DBPs, alternative oxidants have been shown to favor the formation of other DBPs (e.g., ozone producing bromate and halonitromethanes, and chloramines producing N-nitrosodimethylamine and iodinated DBPs). 

    104 Projects 1 Web Tool 1 Case Study 7 Webcasts
    Project #4560

    GAC Control of Regulated and Emerging DBPs of Health Concern

    $698,637
    Completed

    Project Highlights

    This project evaluated the efficacy, design, and cost implications of using GAC to remove precursors and pre-formed halogenated and non-halogenated C- and N-DBPs of concern in order to provide utilities, regulators, and consultants with a better understanding of the implications...

    Principal Investigator
    Meric
    Selbes
    Research Manager
    Dr. Djanette Khiari
  • Energy Optimization

    For most water facilities, energy is one of the highest costs in their operating budget. Stricter regulations are pushing facilities to use even more advanced—and energy-intensive—treatment technologies. Optimizing energy use can provide huge cost savings and numerous additional benefits, including improving air quality, protecting the environment, and bolstering energy security. WRF has published more than 100 projects that explore ways to not only optimize current energy use, but to generate power as well—setting the course for a self-sufficient water sector.

    67 Projects 7 Web Tools 4 Case Studies 10 Webcasts
    Project #4625

    Opportunities and Barriers for Renewable and Distributed Energy Resource Development at Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities

    $379,558
    In Progress

    Project Highlights

    The objectives of this project were to: Identify and discuss opportunities for distributed energy resource (DER) development at drinking water and wastewater utilities Assess the legislative, regulatory, and policy environment impacting DER developments Undertake case studies of implemented DER utility...

    Principal Investigator
    Steven
    Kenway
    Research Manager
    Mr. Ashwin Dhanasekar
  • Intelligent Water Systems

    As with other industries, newly developed technologies drive water utilities to adapt their day-to-day operations. Water networks have been a special focus, with new instrumentation options for water production, transmission, distribution, wastewater collection, and consumer end-points coming to market. Implementing these technologies can improve the efficiency and reliability of water networks, but with myriad options, utilities need guidance on which technologies are most worthwhile and how they should be implemented. 

    9 Projects 1 Web Tool
    Project #4759

    Integrated Management of Sensor Data for Real Time Decision Making

    $382,971
    In Progress

    Project Highlights

    The objective of this research was to develop a framework for an overall decision support system (DSS) to aid operators and managers of direct potable reuse facilities make appropriate real-time actions based on anomalies and events at critical process control...

    Principal Investigator
    Jeff
    Neemann
    Research Manager
    Mr. Justin Mattingly
  • Microbes & Pathogens

    Control of microbes in water systems is critical to achieving water quality and public health goals. While most microbes are not considered human pathogens, certain microbes can pose health risks or contribute undesirable tastes and odors. 

    Since the early 20th century, modern drinking water treatment has made great advancements in the detection, removal, and inactivation of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. As technologies in the drinking water space continue to progress, new challenges have arisen in the form of opportunistic premise plumbing pathogens. 

    Wastewater and stormwater utilities also play an essential role in reducing the pathogen load to receiving waters used for recreation.  Additionally, more recent advancements in water reuse, especially direct potable reuse, demand more understanding of pathogen detection, removal, and inactivation in wastewater. 

    267 Projects 3 Web Tools 11 Webcasts
    Project #4880

    Evaluating Fate of Coliphages in WRRFs and Potential Costs to Reduce Coliphages in WRRF Effluents

    $370,745
    Completed

    Project Highlights

    This project evaluated the fate and treatability of bacterial indicators (Escherichia coli and Enterococcus), viral indicators (male-specific coliphages and somatic coliphages), and enteric viruses in wastewater in relation to potential viral indicator updates to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Recreational...

    Principal Investigator
    Melanie
    Mann
    Research Manager
    Ms. Lola Olabode
  • Resource Recovery

    In recent decades, the wastewater sector has moved away from the idea of wastewater treatment plants as waste disposal facilities, instead envisioning these plants as water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs). WRRFs can produce clean water, recover nutrients (such as phosphorus and nitrogen), and potentially reduce fossil fuel consumption through the production and use of renewable energy.

    61 Projects 4 Web Tools 2 Webcasts
    Project #4792

    Developing Business Cases for Food Waste Co-Digestion at Water Resources Recovery Facilities

    $191,301
    In Progress

    Project Highlights

    This research provides insights about successful business strategies water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) in the U.S. have used to create value and manage the risks of adopting co-digestion of food waste – including fats, oils, and grease; food manufacturing residuals...

    Principal Investigator
    Carol
    Jones
    Research Manager
    Mr. Ashwin Dhanasekar

Innovation and Technology

The Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) is a multi-pronged initiative undertaken by The Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the Water Environment Federation to help bring new water technology to the field quickly and efficiently.

Technology Evaluations

Facility and industry end users share the cost of conducting demonstrations to accelerate adoption of new technologies.

People and Policy

Bench-marking how individual utilities accomplish the identification of resources and policies needed to implement effective research and development.

Communication

In-depth training, education, and outreach designed to promote innovation.

Informal Forum for R&D

Managers and individuals responsible for technology identification and deployment share experiences, activities, and interests.

Recent Updates

Advances in Water Research

October - December 2019
vol. 29 no. 4
In this issue:

This issue features articles on intelligent water systems, water loss control, and more!

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