WERF, WEF to advance LIFT program through new water quality industry opportunities

March 17, 2015
The Water Environment Research Foundation announced that it has recently taken steps to exponentially increase opportunities to adopt innovative technologies in the water quality industry.

ALEXANDRIA, VA, March 17, 2015 -- The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) announced that it has recently taken steps to exponentially increase opportunities to adopt innovative technologies in the water quality industry. Traditionally seen as a risk-adverse industry, those who treat wastewater are transforming their work into a hotbed of innovation (see "How Innovations in Wastewater Treatment Are Turning Waste into Revenue").

Since WERF and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) formed the Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) in 2012 to remove barriers to implementation of innovative technologies in the water quality sector, the group has galvanized over 100 of the largest wastewater treatment facility owners from both the municipal and industrial sectors to work together to identify, select, pilot test, and deploy new technologies to improve efficiency and recover resources embedded in wastewater (see "WERF expands research to further examine wastewater as a resource").

Now LIFT is taking water innovation to the next level. In September 2014, WERF and WEF convened a group of water industry thought leaders in Washington, D.C., to build on the initial successes of LIFT and chart a course for the next phase of the program. A resulting plan for "LIFT 2.0" lays out a path for accelerating, informing, promoting, and funding innovation; creating an innovation environment; and growing and connecting innovators.

LIFT 2.0 activities will help foster "technology highways" between utilities, academics, consultants, and technology providers; prioritize high-reward, multi-beneficial technologies; develop platforms and web applications to support innovation; facilitate and grow a national and international innovation ecosystem; mitigate and manage new technology risk; and identify new regulatory and policy approaches to create the space for innovation. To signal their commitment to implement that plan, WERF and WEF entered into a memorandum of understanding with a formal signing in Chicago last month.

"WEF is committed to working with WERF to implement the next phase of LIFT," said Eileen O'Neill, WEF executive director. "Our participation in LIFT is directly in line with WEF's goal to provide a platform for water sector innovation, and LIFT will continue to pave the way to the more rapid adoption of innovative technologies and approaches that can improve efficiency and recover resources embedded in wastewater."

Additionally, since September, the reach of LIFT has expanded. The Environmental Protection Agency, for example, committed funds to several specific LIFT projects. Other government agencies and research foundations have also expressed interest in partnerships as well. In February, WERF entered into a partnership with Isle Inc., an independent technology and innovation consultancy specializing in clean technologies. WERF will work with Isle to identify and pilot test technologies that can accelerate innovation in the water quality community.

"We are justifiably proud of the success of LIFT. It has grown from several initial participants just over two years ago to several hundred participants," said Larry P. Jaworski, WERF interim executive director. "As we explore the next generation of LIFT, successful collaboration with other technology development programs will be critical to the continued growth and success of our efforts."

See also:

"WEF/WERF seeking innovative wastewater technologies at resource recovery intensification forum"

"WERF now accepting pre-proposals for 2014 Unsolicited Water Research Program"

About WERF

The Water Environment Research Foundation is America's leading independent scientific research organization dedicated to wastewater and stormwater questions. LIFT is moving innovation into practice by allowing providers to introduce their emerging, pre-commercial, and newly commercialized technologies to funders, advisors, and end users. For more information, visit www.werf.org.

About WEF

Founded in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 36,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. WEF members, Member Associations and staff proudly work to achieve our mission to provide bold leadership, champion innovation, connect water professionals, and leverage knowledge to support clean and safe water worldwide. For more information, visit www.wef.org.


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