An Update for WE&RF Subscribers
December 22, 2016
Melissa L. Meeker
WE&RF Chief Executive Officer
I recently received a year-end message from one of our subscribers. In reading through their amazing accomplishments of 2016, I was struck by how many of them touch on WE&RF’s work this year.
For example, our research on best management practices and operational efficiencies helped them become a national leader in cost savings. Our portfolio includes research and case studies that demonstrate how facilities can achieve improvements through economical and environmentally responsible process optimizations.
Our UV disinfection research has proven critical for its use in direct potable reuse. This particular subscriber implemented UV treatment to reduce bacteria before the water is introduced into their waterway system. In other efforts to protect water quality in 2016, WE&RF was awarded and initiated work under an EPA grant to evaluate and minimize microbial contaminants in the Potomac River Watershed. That research will help quantify impacts on reuse and management solutions.
This WE&RF subscriber also made big strides in creating one of the largest combined sewer reservoirs. WE&RF works with many communities that suffer from combined sewer overflows and, with NOAA, we helped local agencies reduce overflows and develop strategies to improve water quality when flooding occurs. Coupled with green infrastructure initiatives, which is a LIFT focus area, their community is widely able to prevent stormwater from entering its sewer system.
In 2016, WE&RF began supporting this subscriber's work in microbial source tracking via metagenomics, which tracks the microbial sources that may affect the suitability of their waterways. Together, WE&RF and WEF will host a web seminar that focuses on this long-term study in 2017.
Through their involvement with LIFT, our subscriber launched a large nutrient recovery facility whose impact will span to the Gulf of Mexico. It uses Ostara, a technology that will help minimize the facility’s nutrient effluent load and consequently reduce its impact on hypoxia upstream.
Resource recovery has been a high priority for this subscriber and for WE&RF. Like WE&RF, they are creating new opportunities to recover water through new partnerships to supply clean, reusable water to the industrial sector. They are also developing a program to produce biogas that can offset the energy expended from their treatment plants. WE&RF supports similar initiatives that can help other facilities become net zero energy plants.
Elements of our biosolids portfolio have enabled this subscriber to use Class A biosolids to create a high value compost that they can sell as an additional source of income, consistent with WE&RF’s ongoing Class A biosolids research.
In 2016, this particular subscriber was recognized as a Utility of the Future – celebrating their progress and adoption of an innovative business model. WE&RF is a sponsoring organization for this designation which was created to encourage technological advancement and reward utilities that employ effective and sustainable practices.
Imagine all of this with just one subscriber! How can you use these same tools and information to achieve such success? We look forward to working with you to share critical information and exchange ideas. With such success in 2016, we are excited about providing exceptional research in the New Year that will continue to advance science, technology, and innovation for all of our subscribers.
Happy holidays to all of you.