Clean Water Tech Funding Awarded in U.S.
Posted on: March 24, 2016

Yesterday’s Canadian Federal Budget saw unprecedented commitment to clean energy tech. Recent funding awarded in the U.S. indicates the push is happening on both sides of the border. On March 21st, two water tech projects were awarded funding by The Water Council, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, and the Fund for Lake Michigan. The first winner, Veolia Water Milwaukee/OptiRTC, Inc, aims to “enhance the performance of Green Infrastructure by reducing wet-weather discharge.” Solar Water Works’ proposal employs – you guessed it – solar power to disinfect storm water.

The press release below details the competition grounds; profiles the winners and their proposed projects; what winners will receive in support and funding; background info on the push for development and commercialization of new water tech prototypes; and information on the partner agencies listed above.

For full details, read on:

Meghan Jensen (414) 988-8754


Pilot Deployment Program selects two winners to move water technology working prototypes,
to real world pilot sites

MILWAUKEE, WI, MARCH 21, 2016 – The Water Council, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and the Fund for Lake Michigan (FFLM) today announced two winners that best align with The Water Council’s Pilot Deployment Program’s goal to address integrated water solutions through innovation, application and demonstration, while maintaining a cost-efficient, scalable and deployable model.

Applicants were asked to respond to one of the following areas of emphasis: Intelligent Stormwater Green Infrastructure; Stormwater Quality; or Stormwater Quantity. A diverse, independent panel of judges from A. O. Smith Corporation, We Energies, City of Milwaukee, Fund for Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, conducted a competitive analysis of each proposal. After two deductive rounds of voting, the following two projects were selected for funding:

  • Veolia Water Milwaukee / OptiRTC, Inc. (Milwaukee, WI / Boston, MA) – Rain:Net powered by Opti will actively control and monitor stormwater discharge from Green Infrastructure based on sensor and satellite data and weather forecast information. This technology will enhance the performance of Green Infrastructure by reducing wet-weather discharge. The status and performance of Green Infrastructure outfitted with Rain:Net will be available to view on dynamic web-dashboards.
  • Solar Water Works (Madison, WI) – Utilizing a solar-powered, catalytic oxidation process for stormwater disinfection, Solar Water Works will measure reaction rate constants for disinfection of two types of bacteria. Data collected will be used for the design and economic analysis of larger-scale stormwater maintenance implementations.

“Technology innovation is a challenging process in such a legacy industry as water and the commercialization process can be long and difficult,” said Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council. “The Pilot Program aims to bring efficiency and much needed funding, advisory support and designated demonstration sites to our companies, in order to launch new technologies to market.”

Winners of the Pilot Program receive:

  • Funds to develop and deploy a prototype of their technology (cash/in-kind match required)
  • Access to key demonstration sites across Milwaukee through our Partners
  • Support from The Water Council’s vast water technology network
  • Validation of their technologies through demonstration
  • Opportunity for small-scale manufacture of final product

“By coordinating efforts, the District, the Fund for Lake Michigan, and The Water Council can leverage funding and expertise to accelerate the deployment of technologies needed to solve problems, create new business, and improve water quality,” said John Hermes, MMSD Commission Chair. “Collaboration on research projects ultimately can help MMSD achieve long range goals and strategic objectives to cost effectively protect public health and improve our rivers and Lake Michigan.”

In August 2015, The Water Council announced a partnership with MMSD and Fund for Lake Michigan that would provide $600,000 in joint funding over two years to advance new, clean water technologies through the Pilot Program. The first year of the Program was launched in January 2015 through a Clean Technology & Innovation grant from Wells Fargo.

“We’re thrilled to partner with MMSD and The Water Council on this pilot program,” said Vicki Elkin, executive director of the Fund for Lake Michigan. “I honestly believe that these technologies could prove to be game changers in how we manage major rain events and prevent pollution from fouling our rivers and beaches.”

The Pilot Program catalyzes companies and professionals that are developing new products to be able to bring these new innovations to market quicker. 2016 Pilot Deployment Program winners will receive $182,385 collectively that will help to create 12 demonstration sites around the city of Milwaukee beginning in Spring 2016.


About The Water Council
The Water Council was established in 2009 by Milwaukee-area businesses, education and government leaders. The nonprofit organization, consisting of more than 180 members, links together global water technology companies, innovative water entrepreneurs, acclaimed academic research programs and, most importantly, some of the nation’s brightest and most energetic water professionals. The Water Council is capturing the attention of the world and transforming the Milwaukee region into a World Water Hub for freshwater research, economic development and education.

About Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
MMSD is a regional government agency that provides water reclamation and flood management services for about 1.1 million people in 28 communities in the Greater Milwaukee Area. Since 1994, MMSD has captured and cleaned 98.3% of all the water and wastewater that has entered the regional sewer system. The goal nationally is to capture and clean 85%. The District serves 411 square miles that cover all, or segments of, six watersheds.

About Fund for Lake Michigan
The Fund for Lake Michigan, a private foundation based in Milwaukee, was established in 2011as part of an agreement between We Energies, Madison Gas and Electric, WPPI Energy, Clean Wisconsin and Sierra Club to safeguard the lake and improve water quality in the region. The Fund has awarded more than $12 million in grants over the past four years for projects ranging from the restoration of Cat Island in Green Bay to the revitalization of Simmons Beach in Kenosha.

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