Recent News

For older news, please see our Archived News page.


High cost of water treatment affecting Monroe

November 2018 - During a presentation last week to the University Research Corridor, Barry LaRoy, Monroe water and wastewater director, said the city's water-treatment costs go well beyond the additional chlorine and other chemicals used to remove the algal toxin microcystin. Other challenges include the new lead-and-copper rule and microplastics, being studied by the Healthy Urban Waters program.

Second Annual Sustainable Detroit Forum on October 24

October 2018 - The second annual Sustainable Detroit Forum will be happening at the end of October. Hosted at Wayne State University, it's designed to connect and cross-fertilize the sustainability communites of Detroit. Healthy Urban Waters' program coordinator Jamie Steis Thorsby will be presenting on green infrastructure and flood mitigation.

GLWA hires first Chief Operating Officer for Wastewater Operations

September 2018 - Great Lakes Water Authority announced the hiking of Navid Mehramm as its Chief Operation Officer for Wastewater Operations. This is the first time GLWA has had a COO solely dedicated to the wastewater operations team. Navid is a graduate of Wayne State University, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Congratulations Navid!

Wayne State team using buoys to detect Lake Erie pollutants

August 2018 - A team of graduate students from Wayne State University in Detroit has developed a more efficient way to detect contaminants in Lake Erie in an ongoing effort to clean the water. By putting in-house manufactured sensors inside a buoy that can instantly read and send data, the Wayne State team, MicroBuoy, captured the top prize at the 2017 Erie Hack Water Innovation Summit in Cleveland. During the Erie Hack competition, which awarded prizes to those generating solutions to solve some of Lake Erie's biggest challenges, the Wayne State team received $40,000, along with $10,000 support services to try and commercialize its invention.

URCPreserving Our State's Freshwater Heritage

June 2018 - HUW research was recently highlighted by the University Research Corridor (URC),an alliance of Wayne State, University of Michigan, and Michigan State research.  HUW research, particularly the water quality monitoring network and beach contamination research, was highlighted as examples of the work being done to preserve the Great Lakes.

How Is Our Health Tied To The Health Of The Great Lakes?WDET

June 2018 - Our director, Carol Miller, discusses how human health is related to the health of the Great Lakes on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson. Miller says "coming up with methods that can be used to, perhaps, forewarn about dangers coming in" to Michigan's bodies of water is important because "caring for the lakes requires that prediction and safe-guarding against threats."


The Great Lakes Water Utility Energy Challenge Announces Its Winners!

May 2018 - The Great Lakes Protection Fund and American Water Works Association are thrilled to announce the winners of the inaugural Water Utility Energy Challenge (WUEC), an innovative program which engaged water operators in a competition to reduce the emissions sourced in their energy generation. The inaugural 2017-2018 competition, focused on the Great Lakes Basin, was aimed at connecting the utilities with new innovative software that reduces mercury and other emissions while reducing the utility's operations and management costs.

The winners are:

Water Utility Emissions Champion, $20,000 Prize - City of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Water Utility Green Champion, $10,000 Prize - City of Bayfield, Bayfield, Wisconsin

Best Pilot Project - Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), Detroit, Michigan

Technical Leader - City of Highland Park, Highland Park, Illinois

Carbon Reduction Leader - Onondaga County Water Authority (OCWA), North Syracuse, New York

Congratulations to the winners!

Preserving Our State's Freshwater Heritage

May 2018 - Universities in the University Research Corridor are doing valuable research and work involving Michigan's freshwater resources. This includes studies related to improving water infrastructure on large scales at University of Michigan, projects that help communities with their own water infrastructure issues at Michigan State University, and the work done at HUW work, which includes water quality monitoring along the Lake Huron to Lake Erie corridor.

From Puerto Rico to Detroit: Orlando Rios finds his research home

April 2018 - Orlando Rios was recently featured in a Today@Wayne article. Rios, a university student at University of Puerto Rico, recently transfered to Wayne State University to finish his undergraduate degree in environmental science with a minor in geology. He was brought here using funds through a National Science Foundation grant though Dr. Donna Kashian's T-RUST program and is currently working with Shirley Papuga on a pilot project funded through Wayne State's Office of the Vice President for Research and Healthy Urban Waters. 

Wisconsin Public Radio: Great Lakes Cities Compete To Reduce Water Utility Emissions

March 2018 - A handful of water utilities around the Great Lakes have been competing over the last year to reduce pollution by controlling the electricity they consume from the power grid. One northern Wisconsin community has been able to cut down mercury emissions as much as 25 percent by pumping water at certain times during the day.

The City of Bayfield is competing with cities like Ann Arbor, Michigan and Detroit to lower mercury and other emissions as part of the Water Utility Energy Challenge. Through the competition, five cities have been testing out new technology developed by researchers to track pollution, said Carol Miller, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Wayne State University in Michigan.

Click here to listen to the segment

Healthy Urban Waters Professor Receives the Azure Award from Microsoft

March 2018 - A team of Wayne State researchers have received an Azure Award – the "AI for Earth" award – from Microsoft. The awards are intended to drive exploration and discovery by providing innovative data science, spatial analysis and visualization tools to organizations focused on finding solutions to climate change, loss of biodiversity, agricultural cost and yield, and increased water scarcity.

Wayne State's project, "AI for Earth: A Cloud-based Analytics for Real-time Monitoring of Landfills/Superfund Sites and the Adjacent Watershed," aims to address the issue of water contamination in Michigan caused from leakage of toxic and superfund sites, which poses significant challenges to environmental and human health.

Doctors Yongli Zhang, a Healthy Urban Waters team member, and Weisong Shi will lead the effort. Congratulations to them both!

2018 Annual Big Data & Business Analytics Symposium

March 2018 - Healthy Urban Water's director, Dr. Carol Miller, will be participating in a panel at the 2018 Annual Big Data and Business Analytics Symposium on March 21, 2018. This symposium focuses on pragmatic issues faced while deploying big data strategies to drive business success. Dr. Miller will be discussing the Huron to Erie Drinking Water Monitoring Network and the efforts being done to collect water quality data and analyze it.

Great Lakes Water Authority Partners with World-Class Universities to Conduct Innovative Research

February 2018 - The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) will continue its focus on research and innovation through renewed partnerships with three world-class universities, including the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University.

"The Authority is always seeking out partnerships that will help us pioneer solutions to optimize our operations," said Sue McCormick, CEO, GLWA. "At our core, we are scientists and engineers, and the treatment and other processes that occur in our plants and piping systems depend heavily on complicated chemistry, microbiology and hydraulics. If there are ways to enhance our ability to deliver water of unquestionable quality and effective, efficient wastewater services through new technology or breakthrough research, we want to seize those opportunities."

The authorty will partner with Wayne State University on two specific areas: Drinking water monitoring system enhancement and Contaminants of emerging concern regarding drinking water treatment.

Clearing the Air: The Water Utility Energy Challenge puts five utilities into competition to reduce air emissions that come from the use of electricity

January 2018 - The Water Utility Energy Challenge was recently highlighted in the January 2018 issue of Treatment Plant Operator. The article discusses the utilities in the competition, PEPSO software, and LEEM data. In addiiton, it discusses the results of using the software and the challenges with using the software.


Wayne State team announced as winner of Internet of H2O water innovation competition

November 3, 2017 - The Cleveland Water Alliance, in partnership with Digital C and US Ignite, awarded $50,000 in cash as well as additional supportive services to Team GLASS, Team Extreme Comms/MicroBuoy, and Team HydroTrek at the Internet of H20 water innovation competition today at the Catawba Island Club.

The competition challenged three communities to come together to solve for real-world issues and establish a Smart Lake strategy that requires the integration of sensors, advanced networking and insights generated from data science.

The goal of the competition was to generate robust and resilient nutrient monitoring pilot programs that have the potential to expand across the Great Lakes and help establish Lake Erie as the first Smart Lake. Farming practices and severe weather can increase the amount of fertilizer-derived nutrients in the water, which diminish water quality and threaten the lake's ecosystem and the public's health.

Congratulations to Teams Extreme Comms and MicroBuoy, who are both made up of students from Wayne State University!

Fall 2017 Water@Wayne events announced

The Fall 2017 Water@Wayne events have been announced. This seminar series occurs on some Thursdays from 2:30 to 3:30pm throughout the semester and includes speakers with a wide-range of backgrounds discussing water-related issues. This event is supported by the Office of the Vice President of Research.

NSF grant prepares students for leadership positions addressing postindustrial urban challenges

July 26, 2017 - Congratulations to our Co-Director, Donna Kashian, who will be leading "NRT: Transformative Research in Urban Sustainability Training (T-RUST)". This grant will train master's and doctoral students to work with communities, busininesses, industries, scientists and policy makers to address challenges faced in postindustrial urban settings and prepare them for public, private and academic leadership positions.

Belle Isle Aquarium programs aims to raise Detroit students' interest in STEM fields

July 21, 2017 - Congratulations to our co-director, Jeffrey Ram, who will be the principal investigator on a program to detemine if a public institution can increase student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math careers.  This program will be a partnership between the Belle Isle Conservancy and Wayne State University, the latter of which will complete this study entailing measuring the impact of the field strips on students' attitudes towards STEM and related careers.

The Great Lakes competition's finalists range from a small Wisconsin city to a large water authority serving 4 million residents

June 5, 2017 -

The Great Lakes Protection Fund (GLPF) and American Water Works Association (AWWA) recently announced the finalists in the Water Utility Energy Challenge (WUEC), an innovative program which engages water operators in a competition to reduce the emissions sourced in their energy generation. The inaugural 2017-'18 competition, focused on the Great Lakes Basin, is aimed at connecting the utilities with new innovative software while fostering an awareness of the associated emissions, particularly mercury. The finalists are the District of Muskoka in Bracebridge, Ontario; the city of Highland Park (Illinois); the city of Ann Arbor (Michigan); the Great Lake Water Authority of Detroit, Michigan; Onondaga County Water Authority of North Syracuse, New York; and the city of Bayfield (Wisconsin). Healthy Urban Waters is on the project team for this competition.

Erie Hack 2017: Innovation for our Great Lake

Apr. 4, 2017 - Radio Interview: Lara Treemore Spears talks about the Wayne State University Healthy Urban Waters (HUW) role in the #ErieHack - a 5-City innovation challenge that involves the tech community to develop proactive solutions to address Lake Erie's ecological challenges.  The Erie Hack Competition took place on May 2 and May 3, 2017. For more information, visit the Erie Hack website.

Check Out Technology Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Michigan Mobile Musings.

March for Science#marchforscience

Mar. 31, 2017 - Wayne State University science community assembles delegation to support the March for Science on April 22, 2017 in Washington D.C. In addition, the March for Science Detroit will occur in Hart Plaza to march in support of scientific research, education, and evidence-based policies.







Road Salt: Street to Stream

Mar. 13, 2017 - UWERG co-directors Dr. David Pitts and Dr. Donna Kashian featured in documentary "Road Salt: Street to Stream" created by Nick Hayes and airing on Detroit Public Television. 

Q&A: WSU's Carol Miller on the interplay between green and gray infrastructure

Dec. 20, 2016 - Model D Media interviewed UWERG director Carol Miller on how green infrastructure is related to and helps sustains the larger infrastructure systems.