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EPA Holds Second Anniversary Celebration for the Water Technology Cluster

The water technology innovation cluster initiative, now officially called “Confluence”, held a second anniversary celebration earlier this month in Cincinnati.  The effort is a Public-Private Partnership to encourage the development and adoption of new and innovative water technologies in the three state area (Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky) around Cincinnati.  (Last week’s meeting/celebration was attended by drinking water program representatives from those three states as well as ASDWA staff.)  After the initial impetus by EPA and the Small Business Administration in 2011, a formal organization has become established to carry on the work in the future.  Confluence provides support for new technologies through a federally funded grant program and the opportunities it provides to bring technology innovators and regulators together.

Barbara Bennett, the Chief Financial Officer for EPA, was one of the event speakers.  She emphasized that innovation drives the economy and good environmental practice is good for business.  In fact, environmental technology is a trade surplus for the U.S.. All of this supports the importance of the technology cluster to EPA.  Another highlight of the agenda was the signing of a three state agreement between Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio for cooperation on review and approval of new technologies.  The agreement envisions developing common protocols for evaluation of new technology that can be accepted by all three states.  It could be a model for some national initiatives that would facilitate new technologies coming to the market and being accepted by states.  ASDWA intends to follow this process and look for ideas that can be adopted in other parts of the country.  During the meeting, EPA also reviewed a project they are beginning to study UV disinfection for small ground water systems.  The study is intended to provide a robust data set to support the acceptance of UV technology for Ground Water Rule compliance in small drinking water systems.

Additional information on this initiative and EPA’s other work in technology is available on the Technology Collaboration and Transfer website.