The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) is accepting pre-proposals for the first phase of a multi-year research effort that will attempt to reduce solids management and wastewater treatment costs by at least 20 percent at U.S. facilities. WERF estimates the total cost for the five-year (2007-2011) research project will be $4 million; the group anticipates funding of approximately $400,000 for the initial phase.

According to WERF, energy use accounts for approximately 35 percent of wastewater treatment facilities’ total cost to provide wastewater service, second only to labor costs. Similarly, solids treatment operations (sludge thickening and dewatering) and sludge handling, transport, and disposal account for a significant portion of the energy use at these facilities. WERF seeks to address the combined challenges of solids volume reduction, resource recovery, and energy management to develop and demonstrate economical and environmentally responsible processes that improve wastewater treatment and solids management operations efficiencies and significantly reduce costs.

Through this request for pre-proposals (RFPP), WERF is seeking a long-term, comprehensive program leading to sustainability and self-sufficiency of wastewater and solids treatment. WERF says it is pursuing a RFPP process as a way to identify and establish team qualifications, as well as to evaluate proposed ideas for achieving the desired outcomes in the most innovative and cost-effective manner. WERF encourages researchers to collaborate and leverage funding with other partners to augment available funding from WERF. WERF will invite pre-qualified proposers to submit full proposals for review and consideration.

More information and a complete RFP are available on the WERF website at Pre-proposals are due no later than Feb. 16, 2007. WERF’s goal is to have the selected core team under contract and work started by the summer of 2007.