RESEARCH: EPA Funds $10 Million in Water/Wastewater Research

The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) will receive $10 million in U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funds to evaluate new technologies that will help utilities cope with aging and failing water and wastewater systems. As the recipient of this cooperative agreement, WERF will administer $6.25 million to address wastewater and stormwater infrastructure research and will coordinate with the Water Research Foundation to administer $3.75 million to address aging drinking water systems. These funds will be further leveraged by a 33.3 percent cost share to be provided by the investigators.

Funding for the research is through EPA?s Aging Water Infrastructure Research Program, a research agenda that supports efforts to put the nation?s aging infrastructure on a pathway toward sustainability.

?The success of EPA?s program depends on stakeholder involvement,? said Sally Gutierrez, director of EPA?s National Risk Management Research Laboratory. ?Sharing information and tools, and working together toward the long-term stewardship of our water infrastructure will put us at the forefront of addressing our nation?s critical need for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure research.?
Research efforts initiated under the cooperative agreement will examine innovative tools and procedures to cost-effectively improve the maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement of the aging sewer lines, water mains and other components that constitute our water and wastewater infrastructure. Research efforts will focus on four key areas:

  • condition assessment for water and wastewater conveyance systems
  • system rehabilitation for water and wastewater conveyance systems
  • advanced design and engineering concepts
  • innovative treatment technologies for wastewater, stormwater, water reuse and drinking water

?This research agreement comes at a crucial time for water and wastewater utilities,? said Glenn Reinhardt, WERF executive director of the Water Environment Research Foundation. ?For decades, cities and towns across the country have managed the remarkable feat of keeping fees low while facing an aging infrastructure and often significant increases in population. The innovative tools and cost-effective solutions that will be developed through this research should provide some welcomed assistance in their ongoing efforts to serve the public and improve water quality.?

The development of this research program stems from EPA?s Sustainable Water Infrastructure Initiative. This initiative seeks to promote better use of resources, increase the sustainability of our water infrastructure, and reduce the gap between the projected need for infrastructure funds and the actual funding.

EPA projects a funding gap of $220 billion funding over the next 20 years if utilities and municipalities don?t increase their investments in water and wastewater infrastructure. By better pricing and managing water use, as well as by implementing new technologies, that gap may be lessened.

Fibrwrap Awarded $8.4 Million for Pipeline Rehabilitation Technology Project

In partnership with Fyfe Co. LLC and the University of California-Irvine, Fibrwrap?s prototype robotics will be used to apply high-strength fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) to the inside of aging water transmission pipelines. Tyfo Fibrwrap FRP is designed to prevent pipes from bursting, collapsing or further deteriorating, and one report states this program may save communities $245 billion in lost opportunities and rebuilding of critical underground pipelines.

The robotics approach to applying FRP systems has been tried in the past by other companies without success. The difference is the patent-pending technology and the strong team of joint venture partners, along with supporting members such as San Diego County Water Authority, East Bay Municipal Utilities District, District of Columbia Water and Sewer, and renowned engineers Simpson, Gumphertz, and Heger.

The Tyfo Carbon Fiber system has been used to strengthen pipelines for the past decade. The leading water agencies in the United States have turned to Fibrwrap Construction for many years to perform rehabilitation of their most critical pipelines. The TIP program will allow the Tyfo system to be applied as much as 10 times faster than manual application.

?By combining Fibrwrap?s expertise in application of the Tyfo Carbon Fiber system with the University?s cutting-edge robotics program, we?re taking the next step in standardizing carbon fiber for advanced pipe retrofitting, including extended runs,? said Edward Fyfe, inventor of the Tyfo Fibrwrap system. ?This program is excellent news for the government, as well, since the resulting technology could provide untold savings by providing a safer, less costly, and more environmentally friendly method of repairing thousands of miles of U.S. water pipelines.?

NIST is awarding over $70 million total in research funds, which will be matched by other sources to equal $150 million in grants over the next two to five years. The high-profile project was created to fund 20 cost-sharing studies addressing national infrastructure problems. The projects are part of President Obama?s efforts to spur economic recovery and address costly societal concerns. ?These new projects will develop new technology and material that will play a critical role in modernizing infrastructure and developing the manufacturing company across the country,? said U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower.



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