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Applied Research

Providing Solutions

The Water Tower is a hub for solutions in research, technology, training, and engagement. TWT participates in several types of research efforts to ultimately serve water and wastewater utilities by helping to ensure access to safe, affordable, and resilient water services.

Research efforts include:

  • TWT-managed projects. These projects, such as the suite of projects under the TWT Lake Lanier Watershed Research Plan, are developed with input from technical experts, approved by the Research Advisory Committee (RAC), managed by The Water Tower, and overseen by a volunteer Project Advisory Committee (PAC) of experts.
  • Partner Research projects. These efforts are proposed to TWT by partners including utilities, universities, industry, and other organizations. The projects are often collaboratively funded and managed by TWT. The proposing partner benefits from technical oversight of the project by a PAC of experts and publication and dissemination of the project outputs to TWT's network.
  • Joint proposals. Joint proposals between TWT and our partners in pursuit of outside funding.
  • Collaboration with GC DWR. TWT and Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources (DWR) participate in research projects managed by organizations such as US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Energy, the Water Research Foundation, and more.
  • Technology R&D projects. Companies interested in conducting R&D on campus and utilizing our state-of-the-art laboratories, demo area, and staff support.

R&D Capabilities

The Water Tower offers research areas for lease with a range of amenities to support your water-related research and technology needs. At our Demonstration Facility, located adjacent to the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center, we offer access to three live wastewater streams from the treatment plant including primary influent, secondary effluent, advanced treated wastewater, and potable water.  The Demonstration Facility includes several research areas and exterior research pads as well as access to a well-equipped laboratory.  Both interior and exterior research sites offer access to power, commodity flows, and bathrooms.  

Access can also be granted to additional assets found in Gwinnett County including 3,800 miles of distribution system, 3,000 miles of collection system, 220 pump stations, 1,500 miles of stormwater system, and access to the following water qualities:

F. WAYNE HILL WATER RESOURCES CENTER – 60 MGD, MEMBRANE AND OZONE

YELLOW RIVER WATER RECLAMATION FACILITY – 22 MGD
CROOKED CREEK WATER RECLAMATION FACILITY - 16 MGD
SHOAL CREEK FILTER PLANT
LANIER FILTER PLANT

TWT Laboratories

The Water Tower offers lab access membership and leases to our three state-of-the-art labs, including microbiology, analytical, and experimental labs. The labs will be equipped with all basic needs and specialized equipment to serve the R&D needs of universities, private corporations, and utilities. The labs are also available for training through the TWT workforce program and specialized training through our partners. 

Research Advisory Committee

The Water Tower's Research Advisory Committee (RAC) is comprised of high-caliber experts in the water field who help guide TWT's applied research agenda and prioritize projects.

Lake Lanier Watershed Five Year Research Plan

Stakeholder-Driven Research Planning to Protect and Support Lake Lanier and its Watershed

Lake Lanier is a major source of water supply to the North Georgia region. Many communities surrounding Lake Lanier rely on it for both discharge of treated effluent as well as their sourcewater for drinking purposes. This practice provides a sustainable water supply solution for the region’s growing population.

Specifically, in Gwinnett County, the majority of the county’s 56 MGD of treated wastewater is discharged to the Lake which is also the primary drinking water source. The transformation of wastewater into a valuable supply of sourcewater requires careful planning, monitoring, and protection of Lake Lanier. While there have been various water research projects and planning efforts implemented throughout the Lake Lanier Watershed in the past by utilities and other organizations, there does not exist a centralized coordinated plan that documents, facilitates, and coordinates an approach to developing the ideation, planning, prioritization, management, resourcing, and funding of applied water research projects.

In response to this identified need, The Water Tower led an effort in partnership with Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources to create a forum through which stakeholders and technical researchers worked together to develop a Lake Lanier Watershed Five Year Research Plan. 

The Lake Lanier Watershed 5-Year Research Plan is a "living document" and therefore, we welcome your input on any aspect of the plan.

Implementation of the Plan

Funding for prioritized projects will be crowdsourced among stakeholders and will be the focus of nonprofit, public and private grant applications. Once funded, the applied research projects will be competitively bid with regional and international 3rd party technical expert oversight and managed by The Water Tower.

We are currently seeking funding partners!

If you are interested in supporting a project under the Lake Lanier Research Plan, or to learn more about The Water Tower's research activities, contact Kristan VandenHeuvel.

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