On March 22, 2016, the Southern Ontario Water Consortium (SOWC) and the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) jointly hosted a workshop in London, Ontario entitled “Getting to Net Zero”, bringing together water companies, researchers, regulators as well as various levels of government.

The purpose of this one-day event was to facilitate a structured engagement between researchers, companies and end-users (including wastewater treatment plant operators), focused on the following key question:

What specific actions or changes would facilitate transforming wastewater treatment to water resource recovery via the uptake of innovative approaches and technologies?

Panel at the Getting to Net Zero Workshop. From left to right: Rob Andrews, President & CEO, OCWA; Tom Kaszas, Director, Environmental Innovations Branch, Ontario Ministry of Environment & Climate Change; Tim Constantine, Global Technology Leader, CH2M; Brenda Lucas, Executive Director, SOWC; and Peter Gallant, President & CEO, WaterTAP.

Next Steps
The organizers of the event were very pleased with the dialogue and the interactions that resulted from the day. The enthusiasm of participants to continue with this type of engagement was clear. Given the relevance to all three of our organizations, SOWC, OCWA and WaterTAP have committed to work together to continue with this type of forum. The intention is to use a similar format to focus on additional sub-sectors (for example drinking water and smart monitoring). There will also follow-up specifically on the topic of transforming wastewater treatment to water resource recovery. The London event brought to light opportunities for a similar engagement from a trans-disciplinary perspective (e.g. data and performance measures, or nutrient reuse). These options will be explored as plans are under way to continue this high level strategic engagement between researchers, companies and end-users, focused on the key question above.

To download the Getting to Net Zero Workshop notes, click here.