SOWC benefited from a $19.58 million investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and an $8.9 million investment from the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Research & Innovation’s Ontario Research Fund in August 2011. These funds were made available to implement the project proposed and developed by the founding university partners: to acquire the equipment and build the various facilities that will make up the diverse physical elements of the SOWC platform. Hundreds of specific equipment needs and facility development costs, including design and installation, were detailed in the approved project.

To execute the proposal, researchers from each of the partner universities had to follow rigorous university procurement rules to acquire each piece of equipment that make up the different facilities of the SOWC platform. Bringing together the design, acquisition and installation of equipment has taken a great deal of exceptional technical experience. Including direct SOWC staff, facility managers and technical support, over 300 months of employment have been supported to date.

SOWC Equipment

SOWC node equipment acquisitions make up the different facilities of the platform

Companies SOWC has purchased equipment and services from are also matching funding in the form of “discounts beyond academic price”. For projects with academic partners, companies are often willing to provide exceptional discounts that are important in leveraging federal and provincial investment. Over the initial project timeframe, this investment will be close to $4 million. An additional major private sector investment leveraged is a contribution from IBM Canada. To date, IBM Canada has provided industry leading hardware and software, along with expert personnel support, valued at over $28 million.

Since its formation, the SOWC has worked to acquire all equipment from the initial proposal laid out by the founding university partners. To date, the SOWC project is progressing well and some interesting acquisitions from leading Canadian water companies have been made. Below are some highlights:

The Wastewater node at the University of Guelph acquired a Total Organic Carbon Analyzer through Mandel Scientific, a Guelph, Ontario distributor that provides a wide range of solutions for laboratories. The TOC system will be housed in the analytical laboratory on campus, and can measure total carbon, inorganic carbon, non-purgeable organic carbon, total organic carbon, and total nitrogen in both prepared liquid (e.g., water, filtered wastewater) and solid (e.g., wastewater, biosolids) samples. Liquid sample injection is fully automated using the autosampler which can hold 68 samples. Carbon, nitrogen, and COD measures provide an indication of water and wastewater quality.

Mandel Scientific Inc also supplied the Wastewater node with a PeCOD (Photo Electrochemical Chemical Oxygen Demand) Analyzer, a device manufactured by MANTECH Inc., a Guelph, Ontario based company that manufactures automated multi-parameter water and soil analysis systems. The PeCOD performs Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) analysis on water/wastewater samples and will be housed within the analytical lab of the SOWC Guelph Wastewater Pilot Facility. PeCOD utilizes a unique, green chemistry method based on TiO2 oxidation, therefore is safer than the hazardous reagents required for traditional dichromate COD. MANTECH’s PeCOD also generates the result in 10 minutes versus hours for traditional CODs, plus it can be automated for multiple sample analysis or taken to the field as a portable unit. Environmental monitoring, through COD analysis, can now be detected in real time and in the field via the PeCOD.

Effluent from the Wastewater Pilot Facility discharges to the City of Guelph Wastewater Treatment Plant via an intermediate pumping system acquired from Xylem, a global water technology company with Canadian operations based in Montreal. Xylem provides water and wastewater pumps and accessories, treatment products, dewatering pumps and monitoring, and controls to municipal, industrial, commercial, and residential customers. The company was able to provide a complete, packaged pre-fabricated pumping station with tank, pumps, valves and controls.

Xylem Canada designed the project specifications and proposed a prefabricated tank manufactured by Barski Industries in Kelowna, BC, and a Duplex Pump Controller from Tulsar Canada Ltd., based in Kitchener, Ontario. The tank, gravity sewer and force main were quickly installed in a nearby site by the general contractor. The testing and commissioning will begin soon.

The SOWC Drinking Water node at the University of Toronto purchased an important piece of equipment from Purifics ES Inc., a London, Ontario based company that focuses on sustainable water purification technology. Purifics’ chemical free Photo-Cat AOP+ will be used by the node facility and future users to test the degradability of emerging and contaminants in drinking water.

The Drinking Water node also acquired Real Tech Inc.’s UV/VIS Spectrum analyzer with the optional automatic chemical cleaning system. The analyzer provides SOWC researchers and platform users with the ability to detect many common parameters such as UV254 (SAC), UVT%, TOC, DOC, COD, BOD, NO3, and NO2 equivalent values as well as emerging contaminants in real time. Real Tech Inc. is a, Whitby, Ontario based company that specializes in the design and manufacturing of cost-effective, innovative, portable and online instrumentation.

SOWC Field Work

Venturing outside the lab, specific SOWC acquisitions are portable for in-field research

The SOWC Watershed node at the University of Waterloo purchased CMT multilevel systems from Solinst Canada Ltd., a Georgetown, Ontario based manufacturer of high-quality groundwater instrumentation. These systems are valuable tools for the node, ensuring detailed tracking of groundwater in a vertical and horizontal profile. The CMTs were used during an extended pumping test for the Regional Municipality of Waterloo this past fall, tracking temperatures from four CMTs at the site. There are plans to install two more CMT wells during the coming weeks at another field site. Other Solinst Canada Ltd. equipment purchased for the node includes a telemetry system, peristaltic pump, data loggers, LTC level loggers, and green loggers.

Equipment from Hoskin Scientific Ltd., a Burlington, Ontario based company focused on supplying testing and monitoring instrumentation, is also playing an important role with the Watershed node. For example, the Submersible Ultraviolet Nitrate Analyzer, or SUNA, purchased from Hoskin Scientific Ltd. is the latest in accurate and cost-effective nutrient monitoring technology. It provides SOWC researchers with the capacity for real time nitrate calculation and simple software based in-field calibrations in effectively any water environment including drinking water reservoirs and agricultural drainage systems. To date, the SOWC Watershed node has procured over a quarter of a million dollars of equipment from the company ranging from current velocity FlowTrackers to multi-parameter water quality sondes.

The SOWC, in collaboration with its partner academic institutions, companies, and sponsors, has made great strides in acquiring the equipment and building the various facilities that will make up this unique and diverse platform. Including acquisitions from cutting-edge Canadian water companies, the SOWC platform is well-positioned to be a leader in real-world development, testing, demonstration, and research in water technologies and services.