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Young Lee; Dr. Halil Kurt, Ph.D., Post Doctoral Fellow, Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering; and Dr. Kartik Chandran, Ph.D., Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering
What is the social or environmental issue being addressed?
There are distressed global regions where basic water treatment does not exist. In Asia, only about 20% of all wastewater and sewage receives adequate treatment, which leads to significant human health hazards. According to the World Health Organization’s studies, less than 10% of the Philippines’ population has access to piped sewage systems, and such neglect results in 55 deaths per day as well as damage to ecosystems and biodiversity. For those without any sanitary means in their homes, they are often faced with difficult decisions including open defecation or suffering the embarrassment of asking to use toilets of neighbors.
Even in the US where the majority of the population has access to higher water treatment standards, there are growing concerns with respect to hazards such as disinfection by-products (DBPs) including trihalomethanes (TTHMs), a known carcinogen. According to the EPA, there are several thousand outstanding regulatory violations. Data suggests that most seem to occur in smaller, rural, low-income, and minority communities.
To compound the above, over US $20 trillion will be needed globally for water infrastructure improvements, over US $700 billion of which will be needed in the US alone.
AdvanceH2O develops next-generation monitoring and data informatics for water treatment. They address customer pain points starting at utility-scale wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), major point sources for future water supply. Based on customers’ desires, their all-in-one product provides complete plant analytics management plans comprised of actionable process control measures. To accomplish this, their innovations uniquely combine plant reactor monitoring, meta-omics (global analysis of DNA, RNA, and proteins isolated directly from communities of organisms) specifically catering to water treatment, chemical analytics, and novel plant process data analytics. Ultimately, they can help water treatment managers worldwide catalyze the following:
- Predict and prevent operational failures to avoid human health hazards, regulatory violations, and exorbitant fines ($30K+ / day in some cases)
- Reduce energy by 50% and chemical demands by 95%
- Cost-effectively scale for growing populations
- Work with plant equipment e.g., monitoring sensors to simplify complex data management