Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the French conglomerate Vivendi have begun a partnership to develop and demonstrate innovative technologies to improve the environmental and economic issues related to urban water and wastewater management.
The partnership created the Water Technology and Management Research Center in Atlanta earlier this month. The center serves as the North American node for Vivendi (formerly Compagnie Generale des Eaux) and is the second largest facility in the company's global research center network. Vivendi spends more than $40 million a year on water research.
The center draws upon the expertise of 11 faculty members and more than 100 graduate students in the Environmental Engineering Program of Georgia Tech's School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
"One of the major factors that led to Vivendi's choice of Atlanta for establishment of the research center was the nationally recognized expertise of the faculty in the Environmental Engineering Group," says group leader and Tech professor Dr. Appiah (Amit) Amirtharajah. "They also were impressed with our state-of-the-art analytical capabilities, especially in drinking water treatment and wastewater management, developed with assistance from the Georgia Research Alliance.
"Also, Georgia Tech has a history of working with established companies to build research centers," Amirtharajah says.
He and his faculty are collaborating with Vivendi researchers in France, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and China. Vivendi has 210,000 employees worldwide and annual expenditures of $38 billion. Vivendi is the parent company of Aqua Alliance Inc. Aqua Alliance has an engineering division, Metcalf & Eddy Inc., and an operating division, Professional Services Group, for its North American activities.
Specific areas of research activity at the Tech center are:
Drinking water treatment and distribution; Wastewater collection and treatment; Wastewater reclamation and reuse; Bio-solids management and disposal; Urban water management economics.
One example of collaboration between Tech and Vivendi researchers is a project headed by French researchers on static mixers for enhancement of drinking water ozonation. Tech researchers have been developing a computational fluid dynamics model of a static mixer and studying its use for mixing disinfectants to kill the parasite Cryptosporidium. The parasite has caused major waterborne disease outbreaks in Carrollton, Ga.; Milwaukee, Wis.; London, England, and Sydney, Australia.
The research center is linking these ongoing research activities and assisting in global technology transfer of these innovations for supplying safe drinking water. For now, the center is housed in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Within a few years, Vivendi expects to have 50 researchers at the Tech center and coordinate research of $8 million to $9 million a year.