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EPA Cincinnati 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

Expanding Water Provider Access to CANARY through Commercialization.

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, 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. EPA is working 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 in 2013. The results of the market study will then be used to enhance and improve CANARY. During 2013 and 2014, a pilot study of the enhanced software program will be conducted with a regional, small or medium-sized water provider. A case study report documenting the results and application of CANARY will be published in 2014. 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.
Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 479 KB)

Contact: John Hall

Field-Scale Demonstration of Real-Time Water Infrastructure Monitoring and Data Fusion Technology to Improve Operations and Enhance Security

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 is partnering with EPA Office of Water (OW) and National Risk Management Research Lab (NRMRL) to extend and apply RTX at the Northern Kentucky Water District in 2013 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 in 2014.
Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 494 KB)

Contact: Robert Janke

Use of an Innovative Membrane Bioreactor for Sustainable Wastewater Reuse

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). 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. During 2013, NRMRL is working 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. It is hoped that successful demonstration of the technology on municipal wastewater will attract a commercial partner for the technology by early 2014. Project results will also be communicated in a peer-reviewed journal article.
Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 648 KB)

Contact: Albert D. Venosa

Improvements, Field Evaluation, and Commercialization of EPA Method 1615

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 groundwaters. This study is enhancing Method 1615 by expanding its usefulness to multiple water types such as surface and wastewater and adding a procedure for measuring adenoviruses using molecular assays. The revised method will be beneficial to utilities, federal and state primary agencies, and recreational water advocacy groups. The work will be completed by mid 2014 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. The EPA National Exposure Research Laboratory 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.
Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 600 KB)

Contact: Shay Fout

Systems-Based Triple-Value Sustainability Assessment of Innovative Water Disinfection Technologies.

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 are being 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 stakeholders that will help them effectively promote and market their technologies. At the conclusion of the two-year project in 2014, a scientific article or final report will publish the outcomes of findings of the sustainability assessment modeling.
Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 1.76 MB)

Contact: Nick Ashbolt

Developing and Commercializing Smart Water Platform—Sensor-Based Data-Driven Energy—Water Optimization in Drinking Water Distribution Systems

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 use worldwide. To solve this problem, EPA is partnering with General Electric Co. (GE) to develop and commercialize the “Smart Water Platform” adaptive monitoring system for drinking water distribution systems. 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 previous 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 2013, a prototype system will be implemented in a site demonstration and evaluation with Greater Cincinnati Water Works. Software refinement and commercialization will occur in 2014.
Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 394 KB)

Contact: Jeff Yang

Innovative Technologies and Solutions for Harvesting and Non-Potable Use of Rain and Stormwater in Urban Settings.

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. To plan a strategy for optimizing water resources, EPA partnered with Confluence Water Technology Innovation Cluster, Duke Energy and Green Umbrella of Greater Cincinnati to hold a workshop on April 24-25, 2013 that evaluated current methods of rainwater and stormwater collection and reuse. The two-day workshop provided an exchange forum for regional organizations to discuss rain and stormwater treatment technologies, water quality, performance standards, challenges, regulatory issues, case studies, research advances, market potential and the best approaches to the management of harvestable water. A workshop summary to be completed by September 2013 will identify existing barriers and possible management strategies and recommendations.
Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 688 KB)

Contact: Dennis Lye

EPA and AFRL Technology Research, Development, and Deployment Agreement

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 EPA Research & Development. To streamline technology research, development, and deployment (RD&D) projects to the marketplace, EPA signed an interagency agreement (IA) with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). The AFRL will host workshops and forums to discuss EPA RD&D priorities and catalyze regional collaboration among 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 and AFRL. The first workshop will investigate the opportunities to advance municipal water information technology and its use to cost-effectively improve water and wastewater treatment plant operations, including treatment, collection and delivery infrastructure. A workshop report will be prepared by September, 2013.
Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 463 KB)

Contact: Evelyn Hartzell

Peracetic Acid (PAA) as a Green Disinfectant

Chlorine has been the disinfectant of choice for most water, wastewater and stormwater disinfecting systems. However, due to an increase in health and safety awareness with chlorine disinfection of combined sewer overflows (CSOs), alternative methods have been getting a closer look. An ideal disinfection system should efficiently and reliably destroy infectious agents under normal operational conditions, including a wide range of wastewater flow rates and qualities, without producing toxic, mutagenic or carcinogenic disinfection by-products (DBPs) or persistent disinfectant residuals that have adverse environmental effects. Wastewater disinfection occurs when it is brought into contact with oxidizing chemicals (such as chlorine, ozone, peracetic acid (PAA) and related compounds). This study is evaluating the disinfection efficiency of PAA as a green alternative to chlorine to reduce or eliminate toxic DBP formation and sodium pollution (dissolved salts) in treated water. EPA is conducting laboratory-scale, bench-scale and field tests to study the effectiveness, as well as the environmental and economic aspects, of PAA as a disinfectant. Partners include Solvay Chemicals, Peragreen & Engineers Plus, City of Cincinnati MSD, and Shaw Environmental.
Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 449 KB)

Contact: Vasudevan Namboodiri

Waterline Charged Filter Membrane Technology

Recent regulations, such as the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Rule (LT2ESWR) and the Ground Water Rule (GWR), protect surface and ground water sources from disease-causing microorganisms and contaminants to ensure drinking water quality for millions of Americans. Waterline Technology, a drinking water system company based in Mansfield, Ohio, and Aqua Treatment Services (ATS) of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, developed a system consisting of a charged membrane filter combined with ultra-violet (UV) disinfection for pathogen removal. Waterline and ATS partnered with EPA in a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) for evaluation at EPA’s Test and Evaluation (T&E) Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. To test the performance and help identify modification requirements of the multi-barrier system, four microbial contaminants were presented for testing: MS2 bacteriophage (a surrogate for enteric viruses), adenovirus 2 (a viral pathogen), cryptosporidium oocysts (a protozoan pathogen), and Globigii (anthrax surrogate). Results to date have been promising. Peer-reviewed reports will be published for each contaminant. An additional possible outcome is the acceptance of the technology for water treatment in the states of California and Pennsylvania where Waterline and ATS are currently working to get state approval.
Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 434 KB)

Contact: Vasudevan Namboodiri

Thermo-Oxidation of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant Sludge for Production of Class A Biosolids

Municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) produce sludge streams as the end product of the treatment process used to remove contaminants from wastewater. These sludge streams typically consist of raw primary sludge and excess or waste-activated sludge that are combined and digested, either anaerobically or aerobically. Land application of Class B biosolids, although widely practiced in the United States, has been accompanied by numerous and ongoing complaints ranging from emanation of malodors from applied fields to claims of illnesses and even deaths caused by volatilization of harmful compounds within the biosolids. These complaints can be circumvented and most likely dispelled by the land application of biosolids treated to a higher level, namely Class A. This project aims to evaluate and optimize a new cost-effective method of converting sludge to a Class A biosolid through a heat activated treatment process meeting all regulations and therefore becoming useful where Class B biosolids are not.
Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 533 KB)

Contact: Richard Brenner

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Analysis of market potential and commercialization opportunities for EPA developed water technologies

Market Analysis

EPA is pursuing the necessary steps to achieve EPA’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. An EPA contractor is evaluating water technology opportunities, related intellectual property (IP) management, technology marketing and scouting opportunities, licensing opportunities, and performing market and economic research and analysis. This helps EPA understand if a particular water technology has promising market or commercialization value. This effort is providing EPA managers key information to make decisions for allocating research funds, and facility and laboratory resources to develop and protect intellectual property both nationally and internationally and project staffing requirements to support the future research. An initial set of EPA technologies have been selected for market opportunity analysis support:

    • 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.
    • Three innovations for sustainable water management not as yet patented.

    Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 404 KB)

    Contact: Jill Neal

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    Turning Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) consent decrees and other urban water problems into business opportunities on a regional basis

    Innovative Sensor Technology for Real-Time, Infiltration-Based Infrastructure Monitoring

    Increased attention 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. In 2013 flow monitoring and pilot-scale rainfall-infiltration simulation devices are being designed and installed as test beds at EPA’s Test and Evaluation Facility to further develop and assess the performance of the new technologies. The test bed enables EPA to control a wide range of variables that are likely to affect technology performance. The outcomes from this project will be shared with key internal and external stakeholders, especially the technology development partners, within the structure of Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs). It is expected that CRADA partners will commercialize these emerging technologies.
    Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 842 KB)

    Contact: Dan Murray

    Green Infrastructure Retrofit

    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, stream instability, and also decreases water quality and endangers downstream ecological habitats and urban infrastructure. There is a growing need to develop green infrastructure 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 Teledyne-ISCO to develop, fabricate, install, and evaluate the performance of innovative detention pond retrofit technologies. In 2013 we are developing and monitoring a cost effective structural device that can be retrofitted to existing detention basin outlet structures that mitigate downstream erosion from excessive rainwater runoff. In 2014 we will monitor the operation and maintenance of the system as well as evaluate various water quality treatment capabilities. 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 stormwater regulations.
    Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 1 MB)

    Contact: Jake Beaulieu

    Workshop to Facilitate Technology Development and Transfer to Citizen-Based Water Resource Monitoring Programs

    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 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 partnered with the Cincinnati-based Green Umbrella Water Action Team to develop a potential market-based path 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. On March 25-27, 2013, EPA brought together stakeholders from state and federal government, citizen monitoring groups and entrepreneurial and research communities to host 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 will be communicated via a concept paper targeted for publication in a relevant and widely-read journal in 2014.
    Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 621 KB)

    Contact: Mark Bagley

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    Creating new market opportunities for water technology commercialization and deployment through simultaneous technology and policy development

    EPA Validation, Approval, and Commercialization of a Microbial Source Tracking Water Technology.

    Fecal pollution in surface waters is the leading cause of enteric waterborne diseases in the world. 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 human and cattle sources of fecal pollution. To help pave a way to commercialization, EPA validation and approval of a MST technology is needed. Currently, EPA is conducting a 17 laboratory validation study on human-associated MST technologies that may result in the first standardized MST technology. The standardized method will then be published in the Federal Register and considered for EPA approval. In addition, EPA expects to file patents on MST water technologies for other sources of fecal pollution sources by the end of FY13. EPA plans to work with Confluence Water Technology Innovation Cluster to co-host a standardization and commercialization workshop to announce the results of the validation study, and to bring together national experts from federal, academic, and business sectors. EPA protocol standardization will make the MST technology eligible for 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.
    Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 552 KB)

    Contact: Orin Shanks

    Implementing Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection Systems for Treatment of Groundwater for Small-Medium Sized Utilities

    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.

    In 2013, EPA will hold stakeholder discussions, develop a test protocol, select UV technology, and conduct lab and pilot-based studies. In January 2013, states of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana signed an agreement under the leadership of Confluence Water Technology Innovation Cluster to work together to develop joint protocols recognized by the three states for mutual acceptance of technologies. State regulators and utility operators from Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana are being recruited to participate in this UV demonstration project under this new agreement. In 2014, we will conduct field performance demonstrations of selected UV reactors to produce performance data to garner confidence for state regulatory agencies to accept these technologies as alternatives to chlorine. Comprehensive technical reports and accompanying journal articles will be prepared after each system is tested. It is expected that results of this study may be used for future acceptance by state regulatory agencies for compliance with GWR requirements.
    Poster (PDF) (1 pg, 510 KB)

    Contact: Jeff Adams

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