Alexandria, VA — Oct. 26, 2015 — Four new studies announced last week by scientific research organization the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) will investigate how we can recover more valuable resources from wastewater during the treatment cycle, according to a press release.

In the first project, Bucknell University will conduct a feasibility study on the recovery of plasmids and rare earth elements from wastewater, noted the release. It will also help define the standards and specifications needed for water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) to produce these commodities.

The second project aims to significantly expand the use of biosolids by defining the standards and specifications needed for WRRFs to cost-effectively produce and more successfully market high-quality, safe and stable biosolids, stated the release. The research team, led by environmental consulting firm Material Matters Inc., will develop a guidance tool for identifying and assessing markets for high-quality biosolids. WERF is also expanding the research further afield by partnering with water utilities affiliated with the Water Services Association of Australia and Water New Zealand.

The Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department will undertake the third project, establishing the feasibility of using residual gas (primarily CO2) following methane recovery to control struvite formation in WRRFs, reported the release. Researchers will also develop a protocol for implementation of similar struvite control methods at other WRRFs. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and CH2M will collaborate with WERF on this study.

The final project aims to support municipalities seeking cost-effective and sustainable biosolids treatments for Class A designation, shared the release. The work, carried out by Michigan Technological University, complements another ongoing WERF project by measuring and standardizing methods to predict pathogen reduction. Additionally, WERF has partnered with equipment manufacturer Lystek International Inc. to support this research.

WERF also said in the release it is organizing a larger fundraising effort with the aim of engaging other partners to expand the scope of work for the last two projects.

You can find the entire release here.