The Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s (WRC) Office is hoping to test some new and innovative technologies from Israel and elsewhere right here in Oakland County.
Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner John P. McCulloch traveled to Israel in November in hopes that these measures can be implemented not just in North America, but right here in Michigan in order to stimulate economic growth.
“When we go to conferences in Israel, we are not only trying to identify technologies that have applications here in the state, but that can also have an economic development component,” McCulloch said.
One new form of water technology has already been tested in Farmington Hills.
Miya, an Israeli company, deals with identifying leaks in drinking water pipe systems. These pipes, over time, can develop leaks and eventually break, resulting in not only a waste of water but expensive corrective measures.
Miya has developed a system where sensors monitor the fluctuation in pressure systems in order to identify where deviations exist in hopes of finding leaks and preventing breaks.
“If we catch these leaks quickly enough, we can fix the pipe before it becomes an expensive problem,” McCulloch said.
Another technology currently being tested in Michigan is an on-site water treatment solution that was developed by the Environmental Protection Company in Israel.
“Full-blown water treatment facilities are expensive, and certain soil conditions don’t allow for traditional septic systems,” McCulloch said. “So we think this modular standalone for wastewater treatment could have a great application in this state, especially in rural areas.”
Grants have been funded through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to test these measures.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also funded a project currently under way involving a method developed by Blue In Green that consists of infusing high levels of oxygen in wastewater in order to eliminate toxic hydrogen sulfide gas, which builds up and “eats” concrete pipes when transporting sewage.
“This process to infuse oxygen into the system is affordable, and it eliminates the toxic gas while elongating the lifespan of the pipes,” McCulloch said.
The Detroit Interceptor System — which has been taken over by Macomb and Oakland counties — collapsed due to a build-up of hydrogen sulfide and cost approximately $160 million to repair.
McCulloch hopes measures like this will help prevent that from happening again and save the county money in the long run.
“It’s really a balancing act to try to find alternative ways of funding to test technology that will ultimately benefit the water systems and the rate payers,” he said.