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Pilot Program Testing Speedy Water Monitoring Technology - 3 Pages

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Pilot Program Testing Speedy Water Monitoring Technology

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Pilot Program Testing Speedy Water Monitoring Technology By: Karla Lant The BACTcontrol unit. In the American Southwest, innovative solutions for water shortages have literally made modern urban life possible. Nowhere is this more apparent than Las Vegas, an oasis in the desert where you can even watch dancing fountains colored with light shoot massive jets of water into the arid sky every 15 minutes at the Bellagio. A new pilot program through WaterStart, partnered with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), provides some insight into how the oasis remains possible—and how to keep water safe in the desert and beyond. TESTING A NEW, QUICKER TECHNOLOGY For Dr. Daniel Gerrity, an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Construction, the issues of scarcity and water quality are always close at hand. “Potable reuse has been the focus of my research for about 10 years now,” explains Dr. Gerrity, who started his potable reuse research as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Southern Nevada Water Authority and then worked on a variety of potable reuse projects in California as a Senior Engineer at Trussell Technologies. “I’m just wrapping up my EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Grant, which focused on microbial risk assessment, sustainability, and treatment in potable reuse applications,” adds Dr. Gerrity. “The first component quantified the safety of potable reuse (i.e., how likely is someone to get sick from conventional drinking water vs. drinking water from a potable reuse system). The second component evaluated the economic viability of direct potable reuse in Las Vegas—as opposed to sending our treated wastewater back to Lake Mead like we currently do. The third component evaluated ozone-biofiltration as an alternative to treatment trains employing reverse osmosis from a water quality perspective.” Now, Dr. Gerrity is part of a collaboration through WaterStart and UNLV that is testing new water monitoring technology from Netherlands-based tech company microLAN. The pilot project is testing the innovative BACTcontrol unit, which can detect bacterial contamination and activity in water many times faster than current technologies.

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Inside the BACTcontrol unit. “WaterStart, which works closely with the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, aims to diversify and grow the Nevada economy by creating a hub for water technology innovation,” remarks Dr. Gerrity. “They give water technology companies an opportunity to pursue matching funds to pilot their products and collaborate with water and wastewater stakeholders in the Southwest.” The microLAN team specializes in using light measurements to develop early warning systems for monitoring water quality. Their range of online monitoring devices take on a variety...

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Close up view of the BACTcontrol unit. Dr. Gerrity explains that the current version of the BACTcontrol can detect total coliform bacteria, E. coli, enterococci, and “total bacterial activity” by spiking different chemicals and incubating at different temperatures. “Total coliform bacteria and enterococci are also types of ‘indicator’ bacteria,” adds Dr. Gerrity. Ultimately, although direct potable reuse isn’t on the menu in Nevada yet, it may be soon, and indirect potable reuse is critical to the state, making the kind of testing the BACTcontrol does essential. “In fact, all of our treated...

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