EPA and SBA Announce Launch of Water Technology Innovation Cluster in Cincinnati

Jan. 19, 2011
Firms and organizations will work together to promote water treatment technology

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Karen Mills traveled to Cincinnati to announce a new collaborative effort called the Water Technology Innovation Cluster (WTIC). The WTIC will develop and commercialize innovative technologies to solve environmental and public health challenges, encourage sustainable economic development and create jobs. As a starting point, WTIC will focus on technologies in the states of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana that will help protect the health of millions of Americans by developing state-of-the-art safeguards for clean water.

“Protecting America's waters is one of EPA's top priorities, and we have called for innovative strategies and technology to meet our nation's 21st century water needs. By bringing together public utilities, research partners and innovative businesses, the Water Technology Innovation Cluster will be instrumental in strengthening health protections for millions of Americans and promoting investments in cutting-edge technology,” Jackson said. “This cluster will benefit from the region's abundance of cutting-edge companies. Investments made here will encourage continued growth while positioning our nation to lead the way in a new market of environmental technologies.”

A regional technology cluster is a geographic concentration of interconnected firms—businesses, suppliers and service providers—and supporting institutions, such as local government, business chambers, universities, investors and others that work together in an organized manner to promote economic growth and technological innovation.

EPA has invested $5 million to conduct key studies of the environmental technology market place for drinking water, acquire the services of a cluster consultant and conduct technology and knowledge mapping of the region to gauge its strengths. WTIC will develop, test and market innovative processes and technologies including those that are sustainable, and water and energy efficient; will be cost effective for the utilities and consumers; address a broad array of contaminants and improve public health protection.

In addition, WTIC will move forward with the development of green infrastructure, including rain gardens. The rain gardens will be designed to receive storm water runoff from roads, roofs and parking lots. The rain gardens’ sandy soils allow storm water to gain access to the native soils below and eventually contribute to groundwater recharge. Pollutants and nutrients in storm water runoff are removed by rain garden vegetation and soils through biological and physical processes.

Source: U.S. EPA