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Low-Cost Multiparameter Sensors for Enabling Maintenance Free Deployments in Water Distribution Systems

Award Information
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Branch: N/A
Contract: 68HERC20C0035
Agency Tracking Number: B194B-0003
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 19-NCER-4B
Solicitation Number: 68HERC19R0052
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-03-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-08-31
Small Business Information
2800 Dartmouth Avenue
Boulder, CO 80305-5220
United States
DUNS: 124409108
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Ross Thomas
 (720) 841-7852
Business Contact
 Ross Thomas
Title: President
Phone: (720) 841-7852
Research Institution

This Small Business Innovation Research project addresses the development of novel low-cost multiparameter sensors that use a new lab-on-a-chip technology platform for enabling real-time, on-line and maintenance-free deployments within water distribution systems as well as most water collection systems (i.e., storm water, grey water, etc.). At the present time, increasingly stringent local, state, and national regulations, coupled with a heightened awareness to potential terrorist security threats and public health concerns, have spurred the need for better and quicker information to monitor and track water quality using cloud-based supervisory control and data acquisition systems; thereby, allowing continuous, real time water quality information from a comprehensive network of on-line water measurement sensors that can be readily updated to utility companies, law enforcement and government health/welfare agencies for making intelligent data driven decisions. Unfortunately, undesirable performance problems (i.e., device drift, calibration frequency and device fouling) combined with expensive total cost of ownership problems (i.e., overall system costs combined with frequent, labor-intensive maintenance) with commercially available water quality sensors need to be solved before it will be feasible to fully implement this critically important application over the desired number of water distribution and collection points for approximately 155,000 water utilities, or potential customers, charged with maintaining millions of miles of water conveyance infrastructure in the US. The proposed lab-on-a-chip based multiparameter sensors, discussed herein, will leadto order-of-magnitude lower total ownership costs and performance improvements to enable maximum efficiency with real-time water quality monitoring in both water distribution and collection systems. Key benefits with the proposed LOC-based water quality sensors that will provide a basis for creating a disruptive market potential of ca. $350 million include: (1) low CapEx and OpEx costs; (2) fully automated real-time and on-line operation with no moving parts or external chemical reagent requirements. (3) maintenance-free deployments; (4) periodically cleaned, calibrated and verified chemical sensors in situ; (5) automated pairing with cloud-based SCADA systems using DNP3 standardized communication protocols for tracking/trending data over time with highly adjustable and configurable settings such as: action thresholds, response types, chemical concentrations, etc. Successfully completing Phase I feasibility studies will lay the necessary groundwork for commercializing the proposed technology.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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