Robert C. Renner, PE, BCEE
Chair, Board of Trustees
Celebrating 50 Years of WRF Research
THIS YEAR MARKS the 50th anniversary of the Water Research Foundation. First envisioned in
1955, the Awwa Research Foundation was officially incorporated on December 5, 1966. The
1967 budget was set at $34,000. In 1968, the first research project was funded by the Federal
Water Pollution Control Administration (FWPCA). Between 1984–1987, Congress appropriated
$3 million for the Research Foundation. In 1987, the subscription program for water utilities
began, an innovation that has allowed WRF to become the industry leader in water research.
One of the most gratifying aspects of WRF’s research efforts is the opportunity to help utility
subscribers find innovative solutions to complex problems. As part of our yearlong anniversary
celebration, WRF will be highlighting several utility stories through videos, showcasing subscriber utilities that have achieved great things, in part because of their use of and participation
in WRF research projects.
The first utility story video, launched in February, focuses on Milwaukee Water Works (MWW). MWW has been a WRF subscriber
for over 25 years, and has been a participating utility on over 25 WRF projects during that time. In 1993, MWW experienced a
Cryptosporidium event, which resulted in a boil water advisory. Over the next five years, Milwaukee implemented an unprecedented
$89 million renovation of facilities to strengthen the barriers related to source water protection, disinfection, and filtration. At the
time, the $51 million design-build project was the largest ozone retrofit in the world. To ensure the success of this project, Milwaukee
Water Works relied on WRF research on ozone inactivation of emerging pathogens, ozone contactor optimization, bromate formation reduction strategies, quenching agents, and diffuser design.
The next Arlington, Texas. TRA has been as WRF subscriber since 1989. In 2012, Trinity River Authority began a Tailored Collaboration
project with WRF, titled “Optimizing Filter Conditions for Improved Manganese Control During Conversion to Biofiltration.” Through
both bench-scale and pilot-scale study, Trinity has found that enhanced biofiltration can provide long-term water quality improvements, including taste and odor control and prevention of manganese breakthroughs. The results and analyses developed from this
project provide improved operating parameters that can be implemented at full-scale for water utilities to enhance biofiltration
These are just two examples of innovative and proactive subscriber utilities that have used WRF research to solve complex and
multifaceted problems. We at WRF are proud to have played a part in their success.
Moving forward, we remain committed to providing our subscribers with the tools and focused research necessary to navigate
the ever-changing water industry landscape. To achieve this, we are increasing our commitment to providing One Water research
for the entire water community. Together with you, we embark on a path toward the next 50 years of groundbreaking One Water
research, paved with the knowledge gained thus far.