Science Wednesday: A Cluster for Clean Water Innovations

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By Aaron Ferster

When people think fashion, they think Milan and New York. The San Francisco Bay area has been dubbed “Silicon Valley,” the geographic heart of the high-tech computer industry. And although I’ve never been there myself, I still conjure up images of fine wine and cuisine whenever someone mentions a trip to Paris.

Sometimes, a critical mass of experts, producers, and innovators come together to the benefit of an entire industry. It’s the classic win-win situation where everyone involved, from the producers of a product to the consumers benefit from a spirit of collaboration and healthy competition.

Someday soon, Southwestern Ohio, Southeastern Indiana and Northern Kentucky will be known as the Milan, Paris, and “Silicon Valley” of clean water technology.

Yesterday, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson joined the administrator of the Small Business Administration, Karen Mills, University of Cincinnati President Gregory H. Williams, and local officials at the Agency’s environmental research center in Cincinnati to announce the launch of the Water Technology Innovation Cluster (WTIC).

The WTIC will spur the research and develop of new environmental technologies for improving water quality in local communities. Through a series of collaborations, investments in small businesses, and research grants, EPA and partners will support the development of green infrastructure projects, advancements in water monitoring technologies and sensor devices, and new ways to remove multi-contaminants from drinking water.

WTIC directly supports EPA’s new Drinking Water Strategy to foster development of new drinking water treatment technologies by developing, testing and commercializing innovative processes and technologies that are sustainable, and water and energy efficient. The new products will be cost effective for utilities and consumers.

In the process, WTIC will attract the best and the brightest scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and small business owners to drive innovation, create jobs, and foster investments in a sustainable future. The economy, the environment, and the country stand to benefit. It’s a win-win-win.

About the Author: EPA science writer Aaron Ferster is the editor of Science Wednesday and a frequent contributor.

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