This post was originally published in the Guelph Tribune.

The city has agreed to get involved in a wastewater research facility to be built on city land as part of a research project that’s described as unique in the world.

Council unanimously approved a plan Monday to lease land at the city’s wastewater treatment plant on Wellington Street West so that the University of Guelph can build and operate a research facility there.

The city will contribute about $195,000 worth of infrastructure as well as $45,000 in in-kind contributions, mainly in staff time, says a new city staff report.

The U of G is one of eight Ontario universities collaborating to create a platform for public and private research, technology development, testing and demonstration in water systems. The $53-million Southern Ontario Water Consortium is supported by $19.6 million from the federal government, $9.4 million from the province and $20.1 million from IBM and other companies, as well as money from universities and municipalities, the report says.

One of the aims is to make Ontario a leader in developing water technologies and services and making this expertise available to the world.

The SOWC Platform, as it’s called, will include several facilities for the testing and development of wastewater purification and other sorts of things, as well as mobile facilities
that can be deployed as needed.

“The facilities are linked together with a large computational and data facility invested by IBM and installed at the University of Toronto to process, analyse, store and distribute the data produced across the platform,” the report says.

“This integrated SOWC Platform will be the first of its kind in the world,” it says.

A “pilot-scale” wastewater research facility will be built in Guelph, and a larger facility will be built in London.

The Guelph facility will be interconnected with the city’s wastewater treatment plant in order to supply wastewater in raw wastewater form, or at varying stages of treatment, for research and testing purposes, the report says.