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Science Wednesday:Innovation for Clean Water

2012 March 28

Each week we write about the science behind environmental protection. Previous Science Wednesdays.

By Lahne Mattas-Curry

Recently, I sat down with Sally Gutierrez, EPA’s Chief of the Environmental Innovation Technology Cluster Development and Support Program, located in Cincinnati, OH. She oversees the Water Technology Innovation Cluster, a public-private partnership covering Ohio, northern Kentucky and southeast Indiana.

Over the last year, the Water Cluster has had significant impact on the way we view water research and water technology commercialization. Gutierrez said, “The region has attracted many emerging small water technology businesses, resulting in several cooperative research agreements and technical assistance from EPA researchers, as well as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards to small businesses developing new technologies to keep our water clean.”

Three of those Small Business awards went to regional companies such as UES, Inc located in Dayton, Ohio. According to Gutierrez, they are developing a real-time In-line sensor for wastewater monitoring. This new technology will be able to detect biological agents and toxins in our water supply in real-time. Something that, if successful, would redefine the way we monitor our wastewater and provide utilities, and EPA, a new way to prevent contaminants from reaching our water.

Speaking of contaminants in our water, Faraday Technology, also in Ohio, is developing a new microelectrode array technology that will enable multiple contaminant monitoring in drinking water, wastewater, surface water and ground water according to Gutierrez.

And with our freshwater resources dwindling, Okeanos Technologies, in northern Kentucky, is developing an innovative new way to take the salt out of saltwater. “Their desalination system uses ion concentration polarization elements and modular arrays,” Sally adds. “This technology takes a really innovative approach to desalination that uses less energy and along with the salt, removes multiple contaminants, including trace contaminants, from water which is of great interest to EPA.”

The impact these small businesses could potentially have on our water supply and even our economy as they grow and create jobs is tremendous. These companies, and the other SBIR winners, are great examples of how a public-private partnership works in developing new technologies to keep our water safe.

As we celebrate 40 years of the Clean Water Act, it’s important to note that the challenges we face today are more subtle and more complex than they were 40 years ago. It’s great that the Water Cluster is looking for new technologies, more innovative and sustainable solutions to make sure that our water supplies are safe and clean for future generations.

About the author: Lahne Mattas-Curry is a communications specialist in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor’s Note: To hear Sally Gutierrez talk about the exciting innovations flowing out of the Water Cluster, listen to the latest Science Matters podcast.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. Arman.- permalink
    March 28, 2012

    Water : Expensive ? Exclusive ?

    But why The Ancients Leaders taught to their people wasted it and so they have been wasting the water until the future? Unjustified…., however, Ms Gutierrez so seriously and patiently to create safe water clean for us. Who’s wrong? Ya, we save, manage and maintain the water differently. How if we should reach the critical water?
    Congratulations to Ms Sally Gutierrez and Good Luck….

  2. kiyohisa tanada permalink
    March 29, 2012

    Correlation of “pure water” and “the mineral water”
    They use the pure water for agriculture.
    Using advertising much as for the mineral water,
    A certain maker,
    They export it expressly from France.
    With “the filter device which is high technology”
    “Tap water” becomes delicious.
    What will the definition of pure water be?
    I filter tap water in “BRITA” and drink.
    Coffee becomes delicious.
    This is my opinion.

  3. shawn permalink
    April 9, 2012

    This is the content I was looking for my friend told me to search for government and education websites related to my research and thank god I found this through google and this is exactly what I needed. Can I ask your permission if I can use this content to my research. Thank you!

  4. permalink
    October 17, 2012

    I think ,speaking of contaminants in our water,it’s important to note that the challenges we face today are more subtle and more complex than they were many years ago. Our freshwater resources dwindling. It’s good that the Water Cluster is looking for new technologies to keep our water safe.

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