Water innovation takes centre stage

Thanks to recent investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), The University of Western Ontario, City of London and local industry are partnering on what will be a global-leading site for water treatment technology.

The Southern Ontario Water Consortium, funded by FedDev Ontario’s Technology Development Program, is designed to encourage public-private collaboration on the development of large-scale, advanced technologies that will result in new market opportunities for southern Ontario.

Through the consortium, universities, private sector companies, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations will work together to develop, test and demonstrate market-driven water technologies (which are in high demand both regionally and globally) in a real wastewater treatment plant. The FedDev Ontario contribution – a total of $19.58 million – will go toward projects in London, Waterloo, Guelph, Hamilton and Toronto areas.

“One of the most important issues for communities around the world is access to clean drinking water and the safe treatment of wastewater,” says Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the FedDev Ontario, who announced the consortium at the 2011 Association of Municipalities of Ontario Annual Conference and Trade Show. “This investment will strengthen southern Ontario’s position as a world leader in clean water technologies, create new jobs in our region, while offering solutions for communities across the globe that lack easy access to clean water.”

The London node of this consortium will be a globally unique facility providing access to a municipal wastewater treatment plant for full-scale development and testing of new technologies related to wastewater treatment, nutrient recovery and energy production from municipal waste. More crucially, it will shorten the time to market for these new technologies, and provide the critical link between the private and public sectors.

To be located at the Greenway Pollution Control Plant (Greenside Avenue in London), this facility represents a $5.6 million dollar investment by FedDev Ontario in equipment to enable and accelerate the commercialization of promising new wastewater treatment technologies.

“Our wastewater engineering experts at Western are excited to collaborate with the City of London and Trojan Technologies on this project,” says Andrew Hrymak, dean of Western Engineering. “The International Water Excellence Centre will leverage the expertise we have in our faculty while helping create new opportunities for the water industry locally, nationally and internationally.”

In addition, the facilities will help to advance training and education in the area of municipal water/wastewater treatment. Officials hope training people in London will better position the city to retain the brightest and best Western graduates to support the city’s needs as well as those of local manufacturers such as Trojan Technologies.