ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) is accepting proposals on two research efforts in its decentralized research program area. WERF made $100,000 available to assess the current state of sensor technology and remote data acquisition equipment that may be suitable for use in decentralized wastewater treatment systems. WERF also made $150,000 available for a second effort to provide guidance and information on when, where, and how distributed wastewater treatment systems might be successfully employed in new and existing urban and suburban areas.

Funding for these projects is provided through WERF’s administration of the National Decentralized Water Resources Capacity Development Project (NDWRCDP). To date, WERF has allocated more than $6.6 million for research under this grant.

Research from the first effort, Non-traditional Indicators of System Performance (DEC2R06), will include a thorough review of the availability of suitable sensor technology, including aspects such as remote operation, robustness, maintenance frequency, and cost. The assessment will also consider the technology required to collect and analyze information from the sensor or sensors and communicate this information from the remote site to someone who can respond. Having established the current state of suitable technology, the project will also identify research needs to develop or modify technology that shows promise for the near and longer-term future.

The second effort, When to Consider Distributed Systems in an Urban and Suburban Context (DEC3R06), will provide concise guidance on how, when, and why medium and larger wastewater agencies might consider using distributed systems, and in what situations they will provide benefits. In this context, a distributed system is defined as one that is managed centrally by a single entity, but may use several plants or points of treatment, ranging in scale from decentralized systems to large wastewater treatment facilities.

According to WERF, strategic use of distributed systems holds promise, but these systems have not been widely employed in urban or suburban contexts. They have the potential to allow agencies to treat wastewater to alleviate challenges posed by extensive, costly, and aging collections systems, limited plant footprints, capacity limitations, and escalating energy costs, and may provide additional benefits, such as cost savings, through more efficient management and fewer service miles traveled.

More information and complete RFPs are available at WERF’s online listing of Open RFPs (under the "Funding" link at Proposals for both efforts are due no later than Oct. 26, 2007.