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TMWA to Help Fund Water Innovation Campus

By Carla O'Day
Truckee River

 

Truckee River

Image: Bob Conrad

Funds for the new Nevada Water Innovation Campus and dollars to support pilot testing operations at local reclamation facilities were approved Wednesday by the Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) board.

The Nevada Water Innovation Campus will get $25,000 annually the next 3 years from the utility, along with a one-time payment of $97,707 for work at the South Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility and the Reno/Stead Water Reclamation Facility.

John Enloe, TMWA director of natural resources, planning and management, said the seed money will help the University of Nevada, Reno get the innovation campus started.

“The innovation campus has been working with the Regional Effluent Management Team, helping us with the advanced water treatment pilot studies and so forth,” Enloe said. “I want to make it clear that all the entities are funding different pieces of this effort.”

Enhancing community awareness and consumer understanding about water issues, educating the next generation of water professionals, and creating a local water research activity hub are among objectives of the water innovation campus.

Washoe County, Reno, Sparks and the Western Regional Water Commission also plan to help fund the innovation campus, which will also study the feasibility of expanding water recycling locally.

Money going toward the reclamation plants will assist Washoe County, Reno, and TMWA staff with the assembly, start-up, and optimization of advanced water treatment technologies. A regional indirect potable reuse feasibility study is part of the plan.

Work at the reclamation facilities will include the following:

  • Assisting undergraduate and graduate students in optimizing the conventional filtration and Ozone-Biological-Activated–Carbon (O3-BAC) treatment processes
  • Installing and trouble-shooting instrumentation, and assisting to create, conduct and oversee all analytical protocols
  • Evaluating energy consumption for the proposed treatment unit processes compared to reverse-osmosis based systems
  • Assisting with procurement of treatment equipment and assembly of a research trailer, housing ultra-violet disinfection, granular activated carbon, and chlorine dioxide treatment equipment in preparation of relocating the advanced water treatment technologies to Reno-Stead facility next year
  • Assisting with the development and creation of educational components within the research trailer, including visual and hands-on displays to enhance public education and engagement
Truckee Meadows Water Authority Board Vice Chair, County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung.

Truckee Meadows Water Authority Board Vice Chair, County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung.

Washoe County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung said there’s no way to determine what the water supply will be like years, or even decades, from now. Working with the innovation campus is the best path forward, he said.

“This gives us the opportunity to have resiliency in our system, instead of treating water to a very low standard and hoping it percolates into the ground or evaporates, or we get rid of it in the river and hope our loads aren’t too high,” Hartung said. “We’re actually coming to a point where we can reuse that water in our system.”

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