American Water

American Water Receives WateReuse Research Foundation Grant for Desalination Project


Source: American Water

VOORHEES, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- American Water Works Company, Inc. (NYSE:AWK), the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company, announced today that it received a grant from the WateReuse Research Foundation to conduct a joint research project with Drexel University to measure and reduce biological fouling on membrane filters in desalination applications. The project is titled, “Application of the Bioluminescent Saltwater Assimilable Organic Carbon (AOC) Test as a Tool for Identifying and Reducing Reverse-Osmosis (RO) Membrane Fouling in Desalination.”

American Water is partnering with Dr. Charles Haas, LD Betz Professor of Environmental Engineering and Head of the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at Drexel University, to monitor the biological fouling potential using a recently developed tool for measuring readily biodegradable components in seawater. The desalination industry will benefit from improved membrane operations by monitoring and controlling biodegradable matter in the pretreatment process. RO membrane desalination is on the rise but the industry continues to be plagued by problems with membrane fouling, which increases the operation, maintenance, and replacement costs of the membrane filters.

The total value of the project is $248,170, with $98,452 funded by the WateReuse Research Foundation and $149,718 in-kind contribution from the research partners. American Water will directly receive $35,000 to pay for analytical costs, labor and other research costs.

“We are pleased that the WateReuse Research Foundation has provided the opportunity to apply our recently developed rapid test for measuring AOC in seawater,” said Lauren Weinrich, senior research analyst for American Water’s Innovation and Environmental Stewardship department, and Ph.D. student in environmental engineering at Drexel University. “By reducing the rate of membrane replacement and avoiding increased cleaning costs, desalination facilities will be able to operate in a more sustainable manner.”

The project team will consist of Dr. Haas as Principal Investigator and American Water’s Dr. Mark LeChevallier, Director of Innovation and Environmental Stewardship, as Co-Principal Investigator. Lauren Weinrich will serve as the project manager.

About the WateReuse Research Foundation

The WateReuse Research Foundation is an educational, non-profit public benefit corporation that serves as a centralized organization for the water and wastewater community to advance the science of water reuse, recycling, reclamation and desalination. The Foundation sponsors applied research which addresses the full range of scientific, technical, policy, and social science issues related to water reuse and desalination. For more information, visit

About Drexel University

Founded in 1891 in Philadelphia, Drexel is the nation's 14th largest private university and is ranked in the category of Best National Universities in 'America's Best Colleges' by U.S. News & World Report. Drexel is widely recognized for its focus on experiential learning through its co-operative education program, technology and use-inspired research. For more information, visit

About American Water

Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs approximately 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in more than 30 states and parts of Canada. More information can be found at



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