Norma Ruecker - Canada Foundation for Innovation

Research partnerships between
Universities and Municipalities
Dr. Norma J. Ruecker, Leader Biology
Water Quality Services
City of Calgary
Why should water utilities be involved in research?
Find solutions to problems
Decision making based on sound science
Fill knowledge gaps
Advance industry best practices
Evidence for needed policy change
Research and Development Strategy
Research and Development Strategy (R&DS) provides research solutions to
operational challenges in support of business goals through leveraging its strategic
Water Resources and Water Services strategically strengthen links with partners to
remain an industry leader and ensure safe and sustainable water quality and
quantity, protection of the environment and address emerging issues that may
impact our citizens, customers and operations
Goals for Research and Development
Better align research efforts with strategic business goals, priorities and risks
Provide a framework for research management and governance
Ensure we are good custodians of the public money invested in research
Leverage available resources, funding, and strengthen links to the research
Create professional development opportunities for staff
Measure and share the results
Priority areas for Research and Development
• Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment; Operational performance; Source water
protection, monitoring; Glenmore reservoir – predictive modeling; Water quantity and
availability; Distribution system research; Asset/Energy Management
• Emerging substances of concern; Effluent re-use; Resource recovery; Optimizing
treatment and capacity; Dissolved oxygen impacts ; Biosolids
• Performance of SCPs, ponds, Shepard wetland; Prevention/cause of nuisance ecology in
ponds; Test assumptions in stormwater design and total loadings; Sediment
characterization & movement in the Storm system; Nutrient management with
vegetation in LID; Stormwater reuse health impacts; Local climate change impacts
Priority areas for Research and Development Microbiology
• Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment; Operational performance; Source water
protection, monitoring
• Effluent re-use; Optimizing treatment and capacity; Biosolids
• Performance of SCPs, ponds, Shepard wetland; Prevention/cause of nuisance ecology in
ponds; Stormwater reuse health impacts
Decision making supported by accurate risk assessment
2013 Health Canada release a new guidance document of enteric protozoa which
included risk assessment (QMRA) as part of multi-barrier approach to drinking
water treatment
Collaborative project between Water Quality Services and University of Alberta to
source track Cryptosporidium and Giardia for more accurate risk assessment
Provides valuable information on
the need and timing of future UV
disinfection upgrades and WTPs
Health Canada DALY target
100 % infective
10% infective
Data supports a decision to defer
at this time
Identification of potential sewer/storm cross connections
Storm water is managed through a network storage and/or outfalls to rivers and is
completely isolated from the sewer system
Total Loading Management initiatives have lead to considering alternative uses for
storm water (i.e. irrigation) which can pose increased public health risks if contaminated
with human sewage
Traditional microbiological indicators (E. coli) are not adequate for identification of
human sewage (i.e. cross connections)
Collaboration with University of Alberta to track the presence of human fecal markers
(Bacteroides) in a number of storm ponds and storm outfalls
E. coli
Expanding wastewater reuse in Alberta through
application of a QMRA framework
• Examine human pathogen removal through WWT processes to determine fit-forpurpose reuse options
Unite academic researchers, industry and policy makers to address several knowledge
gaps related to characterizing pathogen reduction across wastewater processes in cold
climates and the potential public health risks posed by wastewater reuse
For the purpose of:
• Laying the foundation for a science-based, sustainable, health-related water reuse
regulatory framework in Alberta.
Examples of collaborations lead by academic scientists
Primary Funding Agency
Optimizing Drinking Water Treatment in Response to
Variable Source water quality
University of Waterloo and University of Alberta
Natural Sciences and Engineering
Research Council
Decision making system for Wastewater plant upgrades
University of Calgary
City of Calgary
Main breaks: Current Knowledge and Research Roadmap
Arizona State University and Battelle Memorial
Water Research Foundation
Water demand forecasting
Brock University
Canadian Water Network
Sources of nitrosamine precursors
Arizona State University and University of Toronto
Water Research Foundation
Advanced Approaches to dealing with water treatment
Disinfection by-products
University of Alberta
Alberta Innovates
Water and Electric Utility Integrated Planning
Simon Fraser University
Water Research Foundation
Utility Risk Management Methodologies for Buried
Assets with Improved TBL Understanding of Pipe Failure
Virginia Tech
Water Research Foundation
Sustainable Urban Water Management in the Context of
Climate Variability and Change
University of Regina
Alberta Innovates and Mitacs
Emerging substances of concern in Municipal biosolids
Ryerson University, Trent University, University of
Waterloo and University Guelph
Canadian Water Network
Microbial fuel cell
University of Calgary
Urban Alliance
Benefits of collaborating with academic partners
Subject Matter Expertise
Knowledge transfer
R&D generates professional development for employees
Recruitment opportunities for University Graduates
Leveraging of investments
Many collaborations are based on In-kind contributions (data and sample collection)
In 2014, approximately $200,000 directed to research initiatives, total estimated that value of
initiatives are over $1,000,000 (5:1)
Other organizations provide various forms of support for research (NSERC, WRF, WERF, CWN, ACWA,
Many agencies rate projects more highly when industry partners are included
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