The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) is now accepting pre-proposals for the first phase of a multi-year research effort that will attempt to reduce solids management and wastewater treatment costs at U.S. facilities by at least 20%.
WERF anticipates funding of approximately $400,000 for this initial phase of research. Due to the scope and scale of this challenge, estimates for the total cost, over a five-year period (2007-2011), are approximately $4 million. Pre-proposals are due no later than February 16, 2007.
Energy use accounts for approximately 35% of wastewater treatment facilities' total cost to provide wastewater service, second only to labor costs. Similarly, solids treatment operations (i.e. sludge thickening, dewatering) and sludge handling, transport, and disposal account for a significant portion of the energy use at these facilities. WERF seeks to address the combined challenges of solids volume reduction, resource recovery, and energy management in order to develop and demonstrate economical and environmentally responsible processes that improve wastewater treatment and solids management operations efficiencies and significantly reduce costs.
Through this request for pre-proposals, WERF is seeking a long-term, comprehensive program leading to sustainability and self-sufficiency of wastewater and solids treatment. WERF is pursuing a RFPP process as a way to identify and establish team qualifications as well as evaluate proposed ideas to achieving the desired outcomes of this challenge in the most innovative and cost-effective manner. WERF encourages candidates to collaborate and leverage funding with other partners to augment available funding from WERF. WERF will also continue to seek collaborative partners and other opportunities to successfully meet the needs and outcomes of this challenge. Pre-qualified candidates will be invited to submit full proposals for review and consideration by WERF.
It is WERF's goal to have the selected core team under contract to WERF and work started by the summer of 2007. Researchers interested in submitting a proposal are encouraged to visit the WERF website at http://www.werf.org  for more information and a complete RFP.