A joint WEF/WERF Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) meeting in Chicago held in conjunction with WERF’s 8th Annual Research Forum and the WEF Mid-Year Meeting, focused primarily on the Technology Evaluation Program (TEP) of LIFT. The capacity-filled room foreshadowed the future of the water and wastewater sector: academics, consultants, and facility owners in one room, working to identify research needs in specific technology focus areas to bolster and expedite innovation into practice.
For many consultants and academics, this was the first meeting that they were able to attend as many of the LIFT-TEP Working Group discussions are reserved strictly for facility owners and managers, generating a user-driven program that is imperative to accelerate innovation. Charles Bott, Ph.D., Manager of Research and Development at Hampton Roads Sanitation District and Sudhir Murthy, Ph.D., Process Development Manager at DC Water, outlined the LIFT Program and the roles that different sectors of the wastewater industry will be playing. WERF Senior Program Director Jeff Moeller shared results to date from the LIFT Technology Survey that is being administered to facility owners in the LIFT-TEP Working Group which now represents over 150 different applications of technology testing. WEF Chief Technical Officer Matt Ries, outlined WEF-led initiatives including a research and development metrics study that will provide insight into how utilities prioritize and manage innovation. Also in attendance were Jeff Lape, Deputy Director of the EPA’s Office of Science and Technology and Bonnie Gitlin, Acting Deputy Director of EPA’s Municipal Support Division. Both indicated the EPA’s enthusiasm for LIFT and full support in identifying and removing barriers to the innovation process.
The majority of this meeting was spent in breakout groups. Each group, tasked with a particular technology focus area such as biosolids to energy or short-cut nitrogen removal, sought to identify technologies for evaluation and research needs specific to understanding the risks and benefits of implementing these technologies. The full recording of the presentations and the compiled meeting notes from the breakout sessions have been made available to subscribers here.