May 3, 2010 -- For several years, the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) has focused on a group of research challenges designed to tackle some of today's most pressing water quality issues. Each represents a significant commitment of funds and considerable effort from many WERF subscriber volunteers and researchers working to address specific needs under these areas: biosolids, climate change, nutrients, operations optimization, stormwater, strategic asset management, trace organics, and pathogens and human health.
As the existing challenges wind down, room is created within WERF to address emerging challenges. The topics listed here are the direct result of input from WERF subscribers. Recently, this subscriber input was presented to WERF's Research Council for review and the next step is the creation of Exploratory Teams that will investigate the feasibility of these topics as potential research challenges:
- Next Generation of Used Water: Define the new vision for more sustainable wastewater and stormwater systems. Commission a series of demonstration projects for more sustainable ways to convey, treat, and reuse water.
- Energy Management: Develop methods that will allow a wastewater treatment plant to run solely on the energy it gets from wastewater.
- Wastewater as a Resource: Define and develop resource recovery options (exclusive of energy) that result in cost savings or income sources for wastewater operations and show a net environmental benefit.
- Trace Organics in Biosolids: Address recent U.S. EPA findings that identify trace organic compounds in sludge as an emerging issue and define the sources, fate, and transport of these contaminants in biosolids.
- Linking Receiving Water Impacts to Sources and to Water Quality Management Decisions: Determine net environmental benefit from process and technology investments in order to evaluate relative cost versus benefit of environmental policy decisions (e.g., nutrients).
- Enhanced Sensor Detection Technology: Identify real-time and process control sensors that minimize compliance violations and maintain or increase the efficiency of wastewater collection and treatment operations.
WERF is in search of experts to serve on Exploratory Teams as well as partners and collaborators to support this research.
Volunteer Experts Wanted
WERF is now accepting nominations for volunteer experts interested in advising on the scope for six new research programs. As part of WERF's newly identified future research challenges, individuals are being sought to serve on a series of Exploratory Teams responsible for summarizing the state of knowledge for a particular subject area, and preparing a strategy and research plan to address the high-priority research challenges identified by WERF subscribers. One or more members of WERF's Research Council will serve as a liaison to the Exploratory Team. Each team will be lead by a WERF program director who will coordinate the team's efforts and ultimately the research efforts under the challenge.
Nominees must be able to serve in such a voluntary role and to be active participants. Nominees should have expertise or experience in one or more key aspects of the challenge. There are technical and non-technical (e.g., management, policy, communication) aspects for most of the challenges. Being able to contribute to the state-of-knowledge summary is essential. First-hand knowledge and experience in developing research strategies and plans, in providing technical guidance and oversight to research, and in implementing research into practice are equally important.
WERF subscribers and other water quality experts from municipal utilities, equipment manufacturing and consulting firms, government agencies, corporations, academia, and NGOs are eligible for nomination. Self-nominations are welcome.
Please email the nomination form, a signed non-disclosure agreement and a copy of your curriculum vitae or a biographical statement to [email protected] no later than May 21, 2010.
WERF is also seeking partners and collaborators for these six research challenges. Partners and collaborators would be organizations willing to leverage resources (e.g., funding, data, facilities, etc.) to support the research. Please note these organizations would not be able to respond to RFPs in that particular research program. Involvement could begin right away with contribution to the state-of-knowledge summaries, as well as input on the strategy and research plans being developed by the Exploratory Teams over the next six months. See the Exploratory Team nominations form (link above) for descriptions of the six research challenges. If your organization would like to partner or collaborate, please contact the appropriate WERF Program Director (below). Do not fill out a nomination form, as those are only for the Exploratory Teams.
Create the "Next Generation" of Used Water -- Jeff Moeller ([email protected])
Energy Management -- Lauren Fillmore ([email protected])
Wastewater as a Resource -- Amit Pramanik ([email protected])
Trace Organics in Biosolids -- Alan Hais ([email protected])
Linking Receiving Water Impacts to Sources and to Water Quality Management Decisions -- Lola Olabode ([email protected])
Enhanced Sensor Detection Technology for Wastewater Collection and Treatment -- Amit Pramanik ([email protected])
The Water Environment Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed in 1989, is America's leading independent scientific research organization dedicated to wastewater and stormwater issues.