Technology Collaboration and Transfer
Water Cluster Research Projects Abstracts
- Commercialization of EPA and private sector developed water technologies through partnerships with Cincinnati region based businesses and partners to further environmental protection and economic development
- Analysis of market potential and commercialization opportunities for EPA developed water technologies
- Turning Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) consent decrees and other urban water problems into business opportunities on a regional basis
- Creating new market opportunities for water technology commercialization and deployment through simultaneous technology and policy development
Commercialization of EPA and private sector developed water technologies through partnerships with Cincinnati region based businesses and partners to further environmental protection and economic development
Development of technology that rapidly and accurately detects contamination within a water distribution system is needed to decrease water utility personnel response time and limit public health exposures. CANARY, an event detection software, was developed to use field data stored in a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system to monitor and detect contamination of water utility distribution systems in real time. Under the proposed research plan, EPA will work with Sandia National Laboratories, Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW), commercialization partners, and competitively-selected contractor(s) to provide a pathway to market and commercialize CANARY. A market study, including identifying potential commercialization barriers and CANARY packaging improvements, will be completed within the first six months of the project. The results of the market study will then be taken into account to enhance and improve CANARY. During the second year of the project, a pilot study of the enhanced software program will be undertaken in partnership with a regional, small or medium-sized water provider. A case study report documenting the results and application of CANARY will be published when the two-year project is completed. The final product will be commercially available in 2014 as a software package that will incorporate EPA intellectual property to the marketplace, and thereby provide greater access to this innovative water quality tool.
Contact: John Hall
Water utilities have invested heavily in data and information systems. However, much of the data from these systems is stored and never used. The EPANET “Real-Time eXtension” (RTX) software, developed by U.S. EPA’s National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC), enables the fusion of operational data with an infrastructure model. RTX can thereby leverage the data and information system investments to support the wide scope of utility decision-making needed to sustainably improve utility operations and enhance their security.
The fusion of operational data with infrastructure-aware predictive models can yield practical benefits. Just as a pilot uses a flight simulator, utility operators will use RTX-based applications to perform situational response training and conduct operational analyses. The enhanced modeling capability can support asset management decisions and enable operators to achieve optimization goals related to water pressure, leakage, energy, and infrastructure and water quality management.
While there are no regulatory or policy barriers to real-time modeling, there currently is a lack of suitable technology and methodology for utility application. NHSRC will partner with EPA Office of Water and National Risk Management Research Lab (NRMRL) to leverage research by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to extend and apply RTX at the Northern Kentucky Water District for one year to demonstrate the benefits and value of real-time modeling. Key data and information will be collected to quantitatively evaluate real-time modeling. Upon completion of the demonstration, the RTX open source project will be available for commercialization by 2014.
Contact: Robert Janke
As water becomes more and more scarce as a renewable resource, there is a growing need to develop new and innovative technologies that treat our wastewater to the point of reuse. EPA and the University of Cincinnati (UC) developed and patented a membrane bioreactor (MBR) known as the Biomass Concentrator Reactor (BCR) (Patent No. 6821425 issued Nov. 23, 2004). The BCR was shown in a bench-scale study to reduce nutrients and contaminants in synthetic wastewater to extremely low levels, and in a pilot study to treat groundwater contaminated with gasoline and Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) to potable water quality. Over a one-year period, EPA will work with UC to treat municipal wastewater to find the most effective biomass recycle rates needed to achieve low levels of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and nutrient removal, and thus optimizing the wastewater treatment process. Two different recycle ratios will be evaluated, and a final report, along with a market analysis, will be presented to the Water Cluster review panel. It is hoped that EPA will attract Veolia Environmental Services and the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) of Greater Cincinnati as partners in this endeavor. Project results will be communicated in a peer-reviewed journal article, and a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) may be reached with a regional water cluster company, like Veolia, to include potential external patenting and licensing agreements upon conclusion of the second year.
Contact: Albert D. Venosa
Noroviruses are the leading cause of acute gastrointestinal illnesses in the United States. Viruses, especially noroviruses, have been found to be the primary agents of disease at non-chlorinated recreational waters, partially due to combined sewer overflows (CSO), and wastewater treatment plant effluents. Since these viruses may lead to illness and outbreaks, a method for virus detection in many water types is needed to provide data for management decisions, engineering changes, and possible regulatory compliance. EPA Method 1615 was developed to detect enteroviruses and noroviruses in groundwater. This study will enhance Method 1615 by expanding its usefulness to multiple water types, adding a procedure for measuring adenoviruses, and by the development of a commercial kit for the molecular assays. The study will also examine virus fate during wastewater treatment and in streams following discharge. The revised method will be beneficial to utilities, federal and state primary agencies, and recreational water advocacy groups. The work will be completed in a one-year period and will give EPA flexibility for use with the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act. The method, evaluation, and procedures for enhancing performance will be published in one or more scientific journals upon conclusion of the project. EPA is collaborating with the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) of Greater Cincinnati, AAA Wastewater Services, the Mill Creek Watershed Council of Communities, and EMSL Analytical, Inc. in this effort.
Contact: Shay Fout
There is a growing need to develop and model a comprehensive approach to assess sustainability factors and relevant performance metrics of new and innovative water technologies. To develop such an approach, EPA is partnering with Battelle, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Aquionics LLC, and Imaging Systems Technology, Inc. to assess four water treatment/disinfection options (membrane filtration, ferrate, LED and plasma bead UV systems, and peracetic acid) against traditional chlorination. The technologies will be evaluated based on a subset of existing metrics for economic, human health, environmental and technological functionality, and social considerations. Life-cycle analysis (LCA) and economic assessments will include the supply chain for each technology, transport costs, storage, and management of residuals. The project will provide key information to regional water technology cluster stakeholders that will help them effectively promote and market their technologies. An initial interim scoping report describing stakeholder discussion and engagement will be produced followed by a summary of the sustainability assessments. It is expected that internal webinars will be held to communicate initial stakeholder reports. At the conclusion of the two-year project, a scientific article or final report will publish the outcomes of the stakeholder engagement and the findings of the sustainability assessment modeling.
Contact: Nick Ashbolt
Diminishing global fresh water supplies and increasing costs of renewable and reliable energy sources will lead to a growing need to monitor and optimize water-energy usage worldwide. In order to solve this problem, EPA has partnered with General Electric Co. (GE) to develop and commercialize a “Smart Water Platform” adaptive monitoring system for drinking water distribution systems (Patent No. US 7,866,204 B2 awarded Jan. 11, 2011). This project will leverage previously patented work as a framework to develop a cross-platform data acquisition and management system that protects water quality in distribution systems and optimizes energy efficiency through a synchronized real-time pump and storage operation. A pervious technology assessment of the system revealed a potential 15% energy savings resulting in $33-$61 million in direct business potential, and $99-$183 million in annual business-related revenue. In the first year of the project, further research and development (R&D) will produce a prototype system that will be implemented in a site demonstration and evaluation with Cincinnati Water works and contractors such as Shaw Environmental, while product refinement and commercialization will take place during the second year. It is expected that the final system will be commercialized within the Greater Cincinnati area at the end of the second year.
Contact: Jeff Yang
Regional and/or national variability in rainfall event frequencies and volumes, due in part to increased water scarcity and changing climatic patterns, will continue to drive interest in protecting worldwide water resources. In order to plan a solution strategy for optimizing water resources, EPA ORD is partnering with the Water Technology Innovation Cluster: Confluence, and EPA Regions 4, 6, 9, and 10 to organize a workshop to evaluate current methods of rainwater and/or stormwater collection and reuse. The two-day workshop, tentatively scheduled for March 2013, will provide an exchange forum for regional organizations to discuss reuse treatment technologies, water quality, performance standards, challenges, regulatory issues, case studies, research advances, market potential, and the best approaches to the management of reusable water. The workshop will consist of four sessions: a morning and afternoon session for each day. The morning session of day one will highlight the needs associated with water reuse indoors and out, while the afternoon session will focus on outdoor rainwater catchment devices. The morning session of day two will encompass solutions for indoor water reuse, while the afternoon session will entertain a plenary summary session of challenges and needs for collaboration of water reuse projects. A document summarizing workshop results, such as identifying existing barriers and possible management strategies/recommendations, will be completed after the workshop’s conclusion.
Contact: Dennis Lye
Transferring U.S. EPA intellectual property (IP) and research interests to other Government agencies and the private sector for commercialization and marketing is a significant and challenging hurdle currently facing ORD. In order to streamline technology research, development, and deployment (RD&D) projects to the marketplace, EPA is signing an interagency agreement (IA) with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). The AFRL will host discussions and forums on EPA RD&D priorities to catalyze regional collaboration amongst government, small businesses, industry, and academia. The goal of the discussions is to identify and solve technology innovation challenges, transfer technology to the public/private sectors, and spur commercialization of technology solutions that are of interest to EPA ORD and AFRL. The five year IA will aim to describe solutions that will be reported to EPA in the form of quarterly technical progress summaries. A final report will be prepared within 90 days of the termination or expiration of the agreement. It is anticipated that problems and solutions will be mapped out to identify critical gaps that are stifling innovation, and teams and strategies will be produced to leverage resources to close these gaps. By fostering regional collaboration, EPA hopes to create peer-to-peer connections, coordinate new research insights, and develop RD&D partnerships to aid in the transfer of IP to the marketplace for private industry commercialization.
Contact: Evelyn Hartzell
Analysis of market potential and commercialization opportunities for EPA developed water technologies
EPA ORD is pursuing the necessary steps to achieve EPA Administrator Jackson’s goal to develop, deploy, and transfer EPA designed and patented environmental technologies to commercialization, particularly water technologies. It is critical for EPA to effectively transfer innovative, developing, and existing patented technology into real-world applications. Through a work assignment, a contractor will evaluate water technology opportunities, IP management, technology marketing and scouting opportunities, licensing opportunities, perform market/economic research and analysis, as well as provide strategic consultation for potential commercialization of EPA conceptual, developing, and existing patented technologies. This will help EPA understand if a particular water technology has promising economic growth, or potential market or commercialization value. This effort will provide EPA management necessary information to make informed decisions for allocating research and expense funds, and facility and laboratory resources to develop and protect intellectual property both nationally and internationally, continue maintenance support to existing and developing patents, and project staffing requirements to support the research path forward in support of EPA mission, goals, and objectives. An initial set of EPA technologies have been selected for market analysis support:
- Biomass Concentrator Reactor for Biological Wastewater Treatment, Patent Number 6,821,425
- Field Portable Device for the Concentration of Large Volume Water Samples, Patent pending number 11/695,432
- Adaptive Real-time contaminant detection and early warning for drinking water distribution systems, Patent Number 7,866,204
- Process and apparatus for removal of biocolloids from water, Patent Number 7,811,460
Contact: Jill Neal
Turning Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) consent decrees and other urban water problems into business opportunities on a regional basis
Increased attention paid to stormwater management in urban settings, especially as a source control measure for reducing combined sewer overflows, has led to a growing need for real-time monitoring that provides reliable performance data for operation and maintenance decision-making. To meet this need for monitoring capabilities and related sensor technologies, EPA is partnering with Cincinnati-based entities UrbanAlta Technology, Aginova, Inc., Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, and the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati to develop and demonstrate sub-surface moisture sensors and flow monitoring technologies for infiltration-based green infrastructure. Innovations emerging with these technologies are low power demanding sensors that utilize wireless and cloud computing environments. Flow monitoring and pilot-scale rainfall-infiltration simulation devices will be designed and installed as test beds at EPA’s Test and Evaluation Facility during the first year of the project in order to develop and assess the performance of the new technologies. The test bed will enable EPA to control a wide range of variables that are likely to affect technology performance. The technologies under development can then be modified and enhanced in the second year of the project based on the results from the test bed evaluations. The outcomes from this project will be shared with key internal and external stakeholders, especially the technology development partners, within the structure of the Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA). It is expected that CRADA partners will develop and commercialize these emerging technologies in the future. Potential follow-up cooperative projects with these CRADA partners include full-scale field demonstrations of developed monitoring and sensor technologies at existing and new green infrastructure research sites.
Contact: Dan Murray
The widespread development of impervious surfaces in urbanized basins has altered the hydrology of these systems. This alteration causes flooding, accelerated stream bank erosion, stream bed down-cutting, and stream instability, while also decreasing water quality and endangering downstream ecological habitats and urban infrastructure. There is a growing need to develop green infrastructure technologies to reduce peak flows during rainstorms to a level just below the flow rate at which erosion and down-cutting of the receiving stream would begin, referred to as Qcritical. To fill this need, EPA is partnering with the Boone County Conservation District (BCCD), SD1 (a sewer utility in Northern Kentucky), and the National Environmental Compliance Company of Lexington, Kentucky to develop, fabricate, install, and evaluate the performance of innovative detention pond retrofit technologies. The project will develop and monitor a cost effective structural device that can be retrofitted to existing detention basin outlet structures that mitigate downstream erosion from excessive rainwater runoff. During the first year of the project, EPA researchers will collect data to support technology design, development, and deployment. While in the second year, they will monitor the operation and maintenance of the system. Project results will be communicated through reports, journal articles, patents, and guidance documents to be used by state and local officials to help comply with future green infrastructure regulations.
Contact: Jake Beaulieu
The most accurate method to assess the health of streams and rivers is to monitor for changes in their biological, chemical, and physical characteristics directly. While technological innovations to assess chemical and physical parameters have greatly expanded their use, efficient technologies to assess aquatic biodiversity have lagged. Aquatic biodiversity assessments continue to rely on highly skilled experts and labor-intensive field work, making their use increasingly cost prohibitive, yet aquatic assessments that do not include biotic endpoints are unreliable. EPA is partnering with the Cincinnati-based Green Umbrella Water Action Team to develop a potential market-based path toward an innovative solution to this problem by enabling citizen scientists with new technologies. The underlying concept is that motivated citizenry equipped with low-cost technologies and coordinated through centralized data architecture can circumvent the labor and educational requirements of aquatic biomonitoring. While some technologies already exist (e.g., smart phone applications), they have not been developed or coordinated to address the high data quality requirements of State and Federal resource assessment and management programs. Under this proposal, EPA will bring together stakeholders from State and Federal government, citizen monitoring groups, and entrepreneurial and research communities to facilitate a workshop aimed at providing a multi-sector consensus on short and long-term product development, and commercialization goals for aquatic biomonitoring technologies. Outcomes of the two-day workshop, planned to take place in the first quarter of 2013, will be communicated via a concept paper targeted for publication in a relevant and widely-read journal by June 2013.
Contact: Mark Bagley
Creating new market opportunities for water technology commercialization and deployment through simultaneous technology and policy development
Fecal contamination and pollution in surface waters is the leading cause of enteric waterborne diseases in the world. In order to identify and track fecal disease origins, EPA developed and patented a microbial source tracking (MST) DNA-based method (No: 7,572,584) to detect fecal source origins. To help pave a way to commercialization, EPA validation and approval of the MST technology is needed. Under the proposed research plan, EPA will complete a standardized protocol for testing MST water technologies as well as an internal validation report. The protocol will take roughly 12 months to complete and will then be submitted to the Office of Water to become an EPA approved testing method. Under this project, EPA expects to file patents on MST water technologies for cattle, deer, and dogs, which will be presented at the American Society for Microbiology in June 2013. EPA will work with Confluence Water Technology Innovation Cluster to co-host a standardization and commercialization workshop to announce the results of the validation, and to bring together national experts from Federal, academic, and business sectors. EPA protocol approval will make the MST technology eligible for submission to the Alternative Test Procedure Program, from which an equivalency protocol can be established by the EPA Office of Water. This protocol will allow the private sector to develop equivalent technologies for commercialization. This project will provide an ideal test case for the evaluation and commercialization of EPA intellectual property (IP) to the marketplace.
Contact: Orin Shanks
UV disinfection of drinking water is an efficient and cost-effective treatment to inactivate microbial pathogens found in source waters, and it has been implemented in the U.S. to address EPA’s Long Term 2 Enhanced Water Treatment Rule (LT2) for Cryptosporidium inactivation. UV has the potential to be a standalone treatment technology for groundwater sources, but it must meet the 4-log removal requirement for viruses as specified in the Ground Water Rule (GWR). As innovative new UV treatment technologies enter the market, there is a need to devise protocols to evaluate disinfection effectiveness for inactivating microbes (e.g., Adenovirus and Cryptosporidium) or appropriate surrogates. EPA is partnering with the WTIC to provide field performance demonstrations of selected UV reactors to produce performance data to garner confidence for state regulatory agencies to accept these technologies as acceptable alternatives to chlorine. The project will use lab and field studies to control variables such as flow rate, UV power and dose in pilot- and full-scale reactors. State regulators and utility operators from Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, as well as WTIC affiliates, will be asked to participate. Comprehensive technical reports and accompanying journal articles will be prepared after each individual system is tested. The first year will comprise stakeholder discussions, test protocol development, UV technology selection, and lab and pilot-based studies. The second year will focus on field studies and performance evaluations. It is expected that results of this study may be used for future acceptance by state regulatory agencies for compliance with GWR requirements.
Contact: Jeff Adams