Toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, fueled by phosphorous from commercial fertilizer and manure, remove oxygen from the water, choking fish and threatening the health of the lake and its tributaries. Professor Glen Daigger and his team are working to optimize phosphorus removal at the GLWA treatment facility, which is one of the 10 largest such facilities in the world.
Residents served by the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF)
When the WRRFbegan service to the community
Of phosphorus applied to agricultural land in the Lake Erie Basin is from commercial fertilizers
Plant staff have observed that the plant’s biological treatment system may be exhibiting the characteristics of biological phosphorus removal systems that do not require chemical addition. The U-M research team, led by Professor Glen Daigger, are investigating this possibility, along with methods to also optimize chemical phosphorus removal at the plant.
Laboratory- and field-based studies have demonstrated that the biological treatment system does, in fact, possess biological phosphorus removal characteristics. Biological phosphorus removal offers important benefits compared to chemical phosphorus removal, including elimination of the cost of chemical purchase, reduced sludge production, and the potential to recovery rather than simply remove phosphorus from the wastewater stream.
Work is on-going to determine how biological phosphorus removal can be further improved at the WRRF so that the plant’s outstanding phosphorus removal performance record can be maintained while gaining the cost and environmental benefits of transitioning more fully to biological phosphorus removal.
Using autonomous sensors and valves to create “smart” stormwater systems to reduce flooding forecasting, and improve water quality.
Using wireless sensors to monitor water quality and flow conditions and to control drains to Ox Creek in Benton Harbor.
Investigating the use of cutting-edge molecular tools that characterize and optimize water quality process performance.
Improving Benton Harbor’s aging water system using risk assessment and risk analysis techniques, as well as mobile sensors.
Limiting the volume of stormwater in the Detroit system to prevent untreated sewage from being released into the Detroit and Rouge Rivers.
Using big data, data mining, and artificial intelligence to improve performance of the highly advanced Grand Rapids Water Resource Recovery Facilities.
Application of real-time sensing and dynamic control on existing wastewater infrastructure to reduce the frequency and volume of Combined Sewer Overflows.
A grassroots train-the-trainer program on how to install, operate and maintain faucet-mounted point-of-use filters to protect for lead in drinking water.
Installing special toilets and urinals at a University of Michigan building to concentrate urine, sanitize it, and prepare it for re-use as fertilizer.
The Great Lakes Water Authority is looking for ways to rehabilitate large diameter water mains without actually having to dig up city streets.
A PFAS treatment approach for groundwater using low-temperature plasma with a concentration phase
The University of Michigan is developing a structural reliability framework to quantify the probability of failure of pipe segments throughout the GLWA system.
Professor, Environmental and Water Resources
Dr. Daigger is currently Professor of Engineering Practice at the University of Michigan and President and Founder of One Water Solutions, LLC, a water engineering and innovation firm. He previously served as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for CH2M HILL where he was employed for 35 years, as well as Professor and Chair of Environmental Systems Engineering at Clemson University. Actively engaged in the water profession through major projects, and as author or co-author of more than 100 technical papers, four books, and several technical manuals, he contributes to significantly advance practice within the water profession. He has advised many of the major cites of the world, including New York, Los Angles, San Francisco, Singapore, Hong Kong, Istanbul, and Beijing, and is currently a member of the Asian Development Bank Water Advisory Group. Deeply involved in professional activities, he is currently co-Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation (WE&RF), and a Past President of the International Water Association (IWA). The recipient of numerous awards, including the Kappe, Freese, and Feng lectures and the Harrison Prescott Eddy, Morgan, and the Gascoigne Awards, he is a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), a Distinguished Fellow of IWA, and a Fellow of the Water Environment Federation (WEF). A member of a number of professional societies, Dr. Daigger is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineers.