WERF Offers $250,000 in Funding for Research

The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) is now accepting proposals on two research efforts in its decentralized research program area. WERF has made $100,000 available to assess the current state of sensor technology and remote data acquisition equipment that may be suitable for use in decentralized wastewater treatment systems.

WERF has also made $150,000 available for a second effort to provide guidance and information on when, where, and how distributed wastewater treatment systems might be successfully employed in new and existing urban and suburban areas. 

Researchers interested in submitting a proposal are encouraged to visit WERF's online listing of Open RFPs for more information and complete RFPs.

Proposals for both efforts are due no later than October 26, 2007.

Through these two research efforts, WERF will provide critical information and guidance on the use of decentralized and distributed wastewater systems. Funding for these projects is provided through WERF's administration of the National Decentralized Water Resources Capacity Development Project (NDWRCDP). To date, WERF has allocated more than $6.6 million for research under this grant as a means of providing a greater understanding of such systems, which are a prevalent part of the U.S. wastewater infrastructure.

Research from the first effort, Non-traditional Indicators of System Performance (DEC2R06), will include a thorough review of the availability of suitable sensor technology that includes a consideration of such aspects as remote operation, robustness, maintenance frequency, and cost. The assessment will also consider the technology required to collect and analyze information from the sensor or sensors and communicate this information from the remote site to someone who can respond. Having established the current state of suitable technology, the project will also identify research needs to develop or modify technology that shows promise for the near and longer-term future. 

The second effort, When to Consider Distributed Systems in an Urban and Suburban Context (DEC3R06), will provide concise guidance on how, when, and why medium and larger wastewater agencies might consider using distributed systems, and in what situations they will provide benefits. In this context, a distributed system is defined as one that is managed centrally by a single entity, but may use several plants or points of treatment, ranging in scale from decentralized systems to large wastewater treatment facilities. 

Strategic use of distributed systems holds promise, but these systems have not been widely employed in urban or suburban contexts. They have the potential to allow agencies to treat wastewater to alleviate challenges posed by extensive, costly, and aging collections systems, limited plant footprints, capacity limitations, and escalating energy costs, and may provide additional benefits, such as cost savings through more efficient management and fewer service miles traveled. More information on them is needed so that municipal agencies, engineers, and planners may better evaluate their potential. 

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