Aging Water Infrastructure (AWI) Research
The application and mix of new infrastructure designs, management procedures, and operational approaches into an established system is the key to sustainable water systems for future generations.
US EPA. (2007). Factsheet - "Aging Water Infrastructure Research: Advanced Concepts." (PDF) (2 pp, 298 KB) Publication No. EPA/600/F-07/013.
EPA is evaluating stormwater control measures and developing new tools for decision making to reduce runoff that sewers have to handle.
Below are some examples of EPA's research in this area:
- Porous pavements
- Rain gardens and swales
- Green roofs
There is a growing demand for alternative sources of water, in particular, for the reuse (or recycling) of wastewater and stormwater. New technologies that EPA is studying are:
- physical chemical treatment processes to include membrane filtration,
- compressible media filters,
- cloth media filters,
- fine/advanced grit removal, and
Recently, biological treatment technologies have become more cost-effective, especially in energy usage. Many can be easily retrofitted into aging systems. These innovative technologies can also enhance treatment effectiveness, especially for nutrient removal. Innovative technologies include:
- Membrane bioreactors
- Mobile bed biofilm reactor technology
- Integrated fixed-film reactor technology
- Biological aerated filters
The balance between water availability and water demand is a regional-based problem. Climate change will have a large effect on water utilities. EPA is exploring ways to help utilities adapt and manage their water infrastructures. The infrastructure built today will be in place for decades to come, and planning decisions must be made wisely.
EPA researchers are investigating the potential effects of climate change on the nation's watersheds and water systems. Based on the results of these investigations, practical and effective adaptation solutions are being developed. These solutions will provide water resource managers and decision makers with the tools they need to adapt their water resources to future climate, demographic, and economic changes.
EPA research is reviewing traditional drinking water and wastewater collection system designs and practices. We seek to identify and select more effective and efficient approaches. EPA wants to achieve a better balance between water quantity and quality requirements, fire protection and costs.
Our researchers are developing a framework for incorporating economic data and stakeholder/citizen preferences into planning green approaches in neighborhoods and communities.
EPA is extending its collection of stormwater modeling tools to help water utilities.
EPA is developing guidance for
- the effective use of community assets such as parks, vacant lands and brownfields for green infrastructure
- Best Management Practices (BMPs) for stormwater discharge and SSO/CSO management
- Municipal-level BMPs to help increase the use of green infrastructure (GI) approaches by commercial, institutional, and private homeowners
- Unintended results of GI implementation, such as leaks and increase load on water systems
Case study reports are being written on:
- green-gray impacts at the sewer/watershed level on hydrology (the study of water movement, distribution, and quality) , stormwater runoff, and contaminants
- how adaptive management can be used to monitor and assess GI performance
- Stormwater Management Model (SWMM) with LID Controls
- System for Urban Stormwater Treatment and Analysis INtegration Model (SUSTAIN)
- Risk Mangement Drinking Water Treatment Technologies Research