New Program Challenging Operators to Reduce Emissions

The American Water Works Association is awarding two cash prizes of $20,000 and $10,000 to water operators in the Great Lakes Basin who reduce energy-related pollution in their water distribution systems.

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The Great Lakes Protection Fund and American Water Works Association is announcing the launch of The Water Utility Energy and Efficiency Challenge (WUEC), a program that engages water operators in a competition to reduce the emissions sourced in their energy generation. The competition is aimed at connecting the utilities with new software while fostering an awareness of the associated emissions, particularly mercury.

The technology is open source for utilities across the United States, but the inaugural challenge and prize dollars will be focused on the Great Lakes Basin. There is no cost to enter, and competing utilities will receive software and tools to assist in monitoring and reporting emissions as well as hands-on technical assistance. The competition will run through 2018 with awards and cash prizes presented that spring.

More information on the challenge is available online at

"AWWA is eager to collaborate with the Great Lakes Protection Fund on this forward-looking work," says AWWA CEO David LaFrance. "With its cutting edge technology and training component, the partnership will help water utilities optimize their energy consumption, use cleaner energy sources and, importantly, help keep the Great Lakes clean."

Key dates include:

Dec. 1, 2016 - Trial Applications Open (eligibility & rules available here)

Feb. 28, 2017 - Trial Round Applications Close

March 2017 - Finalists Announced

April 2018 - Winners Announced

"This challenge will showcase how utility leaders can use the cleanest energy to deliver clean, safe drinking water to their customers," says David Rankin, vice-president of programs for GLPF. "The winners will demonstrate a new standard for reducing emissions and improving the financial health of their systems. We are delighted to partner with AWWA and its collaborators to protect and restore the health of our shared Great Lakes waters."

The WUEC is a technology competition focused on water utilities in the Great Lakes Basin. Offering two top cash prizes of $20,000 and $10,000, the Water Utility Energy Challenge is supported by the Great Lakes Protection Fund. It is a collaborative effort of the American Water Works Association, CDM Smith, E2I, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, Growth Capital Network, and Wayne State University. For more information, visit


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