Wayne State and Great Lakes Water Authority to Create Workforce and Lab Center of the Future – Today@Wayne

DETROIT — — Wayne State University has been awarded a $584,114 contract to develop a research project in conjunction with the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) to create a workforce and laboratory center of the future.

The three-year project will focus on developing the existing Waterworks Park pilot plant to carry out applied research, testing and evaluation, as well as developing the workforce for new technologies and emerging.

The research and support team examining the pilot plant tailings pond. Ozone columns are visible at top left. From left to right, Michael Dunne (GLWA), Prof. Carol Miller (WSU), Dr. Dienye Tolofari (GLWA), Prof. Yongli Wager (WSU). Photo credit: John Norton (GLWA)

“An important part of this research effort is the development of methods to scale up pilot-scale research findings through to large-scale implementation,” said Dr. John Norton, Director energy, research and innovation for the Great Lakes Water Authority. “The application of fundamental research to real situations poses enormous challenges. Wayne State University is the perfect partner for us to understand how to scale lab-sized science to a facility our size.

The project will be based out of the pilot facility located in the Waterworks Park water treatment plant complex on Jefferson Avenue. Although the sewage treatment plant is located on the historic site of Detroit’s iconic sewage treatment plant, it was completely rebuilt in the late 1990s and represents one of the most advanced modern sewage treatment plants in existence. . As part of the rebuild, engineers designed and included a complete, working small-scale model of the full-scale treatment system.

“The pilot plant is essentially a 12,000-to-1 scale model of the complete processing system,” Norton said. “Anything we need to do in the full-scale facility, we can first operate in the pilot plant to assess how the system responds. As you can imagine this is very useful for training our operators and chemists as they can experiment and learn how the system reacts in different scenarios before trying to do this with the full scale plant. »

Dr Dienye Tolofari (GLWA, right) showing Professor Yongli Wager (WSU, left) the water flow path through the pilot plant. The ozone columns are visible on the left and the processes of the coagulation and filtration unit are located on the upper right. Photo credit: John Norton (GLWA)

Carol J. Miller, Ph.D., PE, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of Healthy Urban Waters at Wayne State will lead the project, with co-lead Yongli Wager, Ph.D., associate professor of engineering Civil and Environmental Engineering at Wayne State. They and the full support team will provide important knowledge that will help GLWA proactively respond to different water treatment scenarios and emerging water quality issues. The education and workforce development programs that also make up this project will help address the critical shortage of technicians and engineers for water utilities nationwide.

“Our work with GLWA will begin with a strategic plan to optimize the benefits for GLWA’s user community, treatment plant operators, utility industry and the water ecosystem,” said Miller. . “In addition, we strive to maximize economic benefits for the community, as well as include workforce training and employment opportunities. On the research side, there are several areas of interest, including scale-up process verification, in-plant learning tools, and process optimization by considering process variables including materials. coagulants and disinfectants. This training is essential for evaluating water treatment processes and developing proactive, scenario-based responses to various water treatment issues and emerging water quality issues.

About the Great Lakes Water Board

The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) is the provider of choice for drinking water services to nearly 40% and efficient and effective wastewater services for nearly 30% of Michigan’s population. With the Great Lakes as its source of water, GLWA is in a unique position to provide those it serves with water of unquestionable quality. GLWA also has the ability to extend its services beyond its 88 member partner communities. As part of its commitment to water affordability, the Authority offers a Residential Water Assistance Program to assist low-income households in participating member communities across the system. GLWA’s Board of Directors includes one representative from Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne counties, two representatives from the City of Detroit, and one appointed by the Governor of Michigan to represent member partner communities outside of the three-zone area. counties.

About Wayne State University

Wayne State University is one of the nation’s leading urban public research universities. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, Michigan and around the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit research.wayne.edu.

Donald E. Patel