Studies will focus on leak management, pressure management and main breaks
American Water Works Co. Inc., the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company, announced that it has been awarded three separate research grants by the Water Research Foundation for a total value of $1,719,722. The research projects will cover the topics of pipe location and leak management, pressure management and main breaks. Of the total funds, American Water will directly receive $525,000 to pay for analytical costs, shipping, supplies, labor and other research costs.
“We are pleased that the Water Research Foundation continues to recognize American Water as a leader in industry research,” said Dr. Mark LeChevallier, director of environmental stewardship and innovation. “Our team of expert scientists and engineers, coupled with our large and diverse geographical footprint, provides an exceptional opportunity to study and develop best practices for the water industry.”
The first project, "Synthesis Document on Pipe Location and Leakage Management for Small Systems," is being executed in partnership with Oxenford Consulting. The project involves collecting best practices on pipe location and water loss management techniques to create a program designed for small systems. Emphasis will be on finding non-metallic pipe and leaks along such lines, which are particularly challenging to the water industry. Five other organizations with experience in working with small systems will also participate in the study: Colorado Rural Association, Montana Water Center, New Mexico Environmental Finance Center, Pennsylvania Rural Association and Texas Water Board. The grant award is $100,000 and the total project is valued at $162,162. Work is expected to begin this fall.
The second project, “Pressure Management Case Studies,” will principally be conducted by American Water and will examine the role of pressure management in the overall optimization of distribution systems. The goal of the project will be to implement an optimized pressure-monitoring program, and capture best pressure management practices in water utilities. The total value of the project is $730,000, and American Water will receive $250,000 from the Water Research Foundation to offset project costs. The project has generated strong interest from the water industry and 30 participating utilities will make $480,000 of in-kind contributions to the research. The study is planned for 30 months and will begin this fall.
The third grant award is for a study titled “Effective Microbial Control Strategies for Main Breaks and Depressurization.” American Water will perform the research in collaboration HDR Engineering, which is serving as the project lead. American Water will develop a computer model to estimate the risks form water contamination during main breaks. The model will then permit evaluation of control strategies to minimize the risks. The total value of the 30-month project is $827,560, including in-kind contributions. American Water will receive $175,000 to offset research costs.