IUVA One Water
Cassidy Yates MS Option Student, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New Hampshire
Nicola Elardo MS Option Student, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New Hampshire
Castine Bernardy Ph.D. student, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New Hampshire
With the return of some in-person events (highly equipped with COVID-19 safety measures), thousands of water and wastewater professionals were able to gather once again for the Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) in Chicago, Illinois, from October 16 to 20, 2021. This year’s event had a large focus on the topics typically covered here in the One Water Column, such as sustainable water management, utilities making the shift to a One Water approach and innovative applications of UV technology.
Opening the conference with a call to action, WEF’s 2020-2021 President Lynn Broaddus highlighted the importance of sustainable water solutions as the industry plays a key role in protecting public health with the increasing threat of climate change. One Water is a critical component of sustainable water management that can help meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Clean Water and Sanitation. WEFTEC premiered the SDG 6 Theater in the Drinking Water Pavilion at this year’s conference with a variety of inspiring sessions – one of which reviewed the US Water Alliance’s Six Essential Capacities for One Water Change Leadership. This framework is based on “the ability to use collective knowledge, skills and attitudes to enable One Water management” (Plastrik & Lackey, 2020).
Utilities had the opportunity the learn from one another on the topic of taking regional and whole water cycle approaches to water management and treatment. Shared experiences, such as those in the presentation, “One Water: Bringing Utilities Together in Denver,” provided insight on the benefits of planning and integration. Stormwater was another component of One Water that received significant attention at WEFTEC, with presentations such as “Conversation & Input: One Water Approaches to a Regional Stormwater Management Program in Northeast Ohio” and others connecting community resilience and water quality to stormwater management.
All professionals had a chance to connect with UV technology providers on the exhibit floor and during the “Chemical and UV Disinfection Solutions” session. In this technology spotlight, presenters reviewed water quality and regulatory drivers and improvements in recent years around installation practices, operations, maintenance, energy use and automation. As previously discussed in this column, the emergence of UV-LED systems presents new opportunities for drinking water applications. A WEFTEC session – “Riding the UV Wave: Tracking the Evolution of UV Technology (UV-LED) and New Applications” – featured speakers representing consulting firms, utilities and two rising companies: Typhon Treatment Systems and ecoSPEARS. Presentations and discussions centered around the disinfection of potable, primary, secondary, tertiary and advanced purified effluents, highlighting improved operating practices for emerging UV systems and innovative applications.
In other news, the US Congress passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill on November 5, 2021. This bill has the potential to bring funding for much needed water projects where engineers can put to use innovations to better serve citizens. Within the bill, $55 billion has been allocated to upgrading water infrastructure. The funds will be used to replace lead service lines and address issues resulting from PFAS contamination of water. The interest in the role of UV for PFAS degradation via advanced oxidation and reduction processes has increased dramatically, and researchers in the field have seen promising results. Therefore, utilizing UV as a means to degrade PFAS in the US drinking water supply may become a viable technology.
In addition, $50 billion has been allocated to water infrastructure resiliency. This money would be dedicated to preparedness for droughts, floods and prevention of cyberattacks, as mentioned in the One Water Quarter 2 column. Another section of this bill includes the allocation of $8 billion for federal projects related to groundwater recharge, aquifer storage and water source substitution projects in areas where parts of the United States face severe droughts. Federal funding for these kinds of projects (not necessarily UV related) are encouraging in that the US may be moving toward a One Water approach to treatment and supply.
The “One Water” column seeks to highlight the application of UV technologies to the traditional areas of drinking water, wastewater, water reuse, agricultural and industrial process water, and stormwater. The goal of the column is to further evolving understanding and focus, driven by YP members, on sustainable water – reminding stakeholders that there is one water cycle on earth.
- Authenticated US Government Information. (2021, August 10). Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Govinfo. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/BILLS-117hr3684eas.
- Gardner Business Media Inc. (2021). WEFTEC 2021 (Version 5.0.94) [Mobile app]. App Store. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/weftec-2021/id1575735172
- Jalonick, M. C. (2021, November 6). Roads, transit, internet: What’s in the infrastructure bill. AP NEWS. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-technology-business-broadband-internet-congress-d89d6bb1b39cd9c67ae9fc91f5eb4c0d.
- Lobosco, K., & Luhby, T. (2021, November 6). Here’s what’s in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. CNN. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/28/politics/infrastructure-bill-explained/index.html.
- Plastrik, P., & Lackey, K. (2020). One Water Change Leadership for Utilities: Six Essential Capacities. US Water Alliance. http://uswateralliance.org/sites/uswateralliance.org/files/publications/uswa_leadership_report_FINAL_0.pdf
- Probasco, J. (2021, November 10). Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill passes, what happens next. Investopedia. Retrieved November 10, 2021, from https://www.investopedia.com/here-s-what-s-in-the-usd1-trillion-infrastructure-bill-passed-by-the-senate-5196817.