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WERF Receives $2 Million Grant to Establish National Research Center for
Resource Recovery and Nutrient Management
The Water Environment Research Foundation
(WERF) was recently awarded a $2.2 million United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science to Achieve Results
(STAR) grant to establish a National Research Center for Resource Recovery and Nutrient Management. Through the Center, WERF intends to catalyze a paradigm shift in the water quality community whereby nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are not regarded as wastes but rather valuable resources. WERF hopes to provide communities with more cost-effective options to recover and reuse nutrients; ultimately, significantly reducing the amount of nutrients entering waterbodies.
WERF will be working with some of the top universities and partner non-profit organizations in the United States. The list of universities includes: the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, the University of Michigan, Stanford University, The State University of New York at Buffalo, Washington State University and the University of Washington. Many of these institutions have been conducting research on water quality with WERF for over 25 years. WERF is engaging its long-time collaboration partner, the Water Research Foundation, to oversee the research that will be done jointly by the University of California Berkeley and Stanford University.
Highlights of these truly exciting, game-changing projects include:
• Demonstrating collection and use of a safe, effective, and sustainable source of nutrients for agriculture through urine separation.
• Demonstrations of a technological breakthrough that will allow utilities to meet regulatory goals for nitrogen reduction at a much lower cost, with less energy, and with a smaller chemical footprint.
• Evaluating the engineering feasibility, operational costs, and environmental and social impacts of nutrient recovery technologies with a demonstration in at least one wastewater treatment facility, also known as
water resource recovery facilities.
• Development of new approaches to removing nutrients from urban runoff to facilitate use of that water.
• Conducting commercial-scale applications at agricultural facilities to generate energy and more desired bio-fertilizers in an economically feasible way.
The grant will also fund two additional projects. One builds on the work conducted under the five projects above – evaluating the scalability and replicability of their work. The second adds agricultural performance data to an international database of best management practices to manage rain and snowmelt runoff.
The Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants are an integral part of EPA’s research on water quality and availability. Three other organizations received awards at the same time WERF did. The other recipients are Pennsylvania State University, University of South Florida, and Colorado State University. WERF looks forward to working with the other three institutions.
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.