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Optimizing the wastewater treatment process means finding and implementing the best use of treatment byproducts. One way King County accomplishes this goal is through research partnering, thereby conducting critical peer-reviewed research with a focus on product safety, product quality, responding to customer questions, and meeting the needs of future product regulation.

The University of Washington Research Fellowship Program

The Technology Assessment Program  is partnered with the University of Washington Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering through a Fellowship Program that funds two Graduate students to conduct research on topics of interest to our operations.

The Research Fellowship Program awards research grants to graduate students conducting research on technologies and processes pertinent to WTD operations and showing potential to:

  • Improve performance;
  • Reduce costs;
  • Recover resources; and/or
  • Reduce impacts of wastewater treatment

In 2014, WTD worked with three PhD students on topics ranging from identifying optimal conditions for biodegradation of estrogen compounds, to bioaugmentation to enhance removal of specific trace organics, to the importance of syntrophic bacteria in the anaerobic degradation of fats, oils, and greases (FOG). View a summary of these projects.

Working with Research Foundations

The Technology Assessment Program has a history of participating in national research projects funded by non-profit organizations such as the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the US Department of Energy (USDOE).

In a recent WERF study, WTD was one of seven public agencies selected to identify operational strategies and biochemical mechanisms that may improve removal of trace organic compounds during wastewater treatment.   The final WERF report has not yet been completed.

Another study investigated the benefits and impacts of adding a variety of imported organic materials (e.g. restaurant grease) to the anaerobic digesters which may increase biogas production which can then be converted to a renewable fuel.  This study provided valuable data to WTD's own grease co-digestion study.

To support this effort, the Technology Assessment Program loaned the Anaerobic Digestion Test Trailer (link to Trailer paragraph on Program Overview page) to a wastewater treatment plant in Edmonton, Alberta.  The final report "Co-Digestion of Organic Waste Products With Wastewater Solids_OWSO5R07a" is available from the WERF website (www.werf.org).

For more information about resource recovery, please contact us at: