The NUI Galway/ EPA Water Research Facility (WRF) is a world class infrastructure for research and technology development providing a test-bed for innovative water, wastewater and waste treatment technologies. The WRF is located on the site of the Tuam Wastewater Treatment Plant (TWWTP), Co. Galway, and can treat a side-stream of the TWWTP influent for a population equivalent to a town of up to 400 people.

A novel attached growth wastewater treatment technology (developed and patented in NUI Galway) is the main wastewater treatment system currently operating at the WRF – known as the pumped flow biofilm reactor (PFBR).

Core funding to establish the WRF was provided by the EPA through its STRIVE Research Programme, and by NUI Galway. Critical support came from Galway County Council, who provided the site and carried out the civil engineering works. Building on the EPAs initial investment, other agencies including Enterprise Ireland are currently funding research projects on new green technologies at the WRF.

Some of the main features of the facility include:

  • Access to raw wastewater allowing for technologies to be trialled for primary, secondary and tertiary wastewater treatment
  • The WRF can be accessed, monitored and controlled remotely and in real time
  • An ideal site for testing new sensors and analysers for water and gaseous contaminant monitoring. Such sensors can be tested on wastewaters at various stages of treatment
  • An ideal facility for piloting (i) new SMART monitoring, control and alarm systems, (ii) web based platforms, and (iii) cost effective telemetry systems for decentralised water and wastewater treatment facilities
  • A unique and highly flexible mobile remote monitoring centre (MRMC) can be deployed to technologies on site or can be leased for use elsewhere (link)
  • Access to wastewater sludge allowing new sludge treatment methods to be tested
  • An easily accessible site at Tuam, Co. Galway
  • Samples are regularly taken and monitored and can be tested at the Environmental Engineering Laboratories, NUI Galway
  • Experienced NUI Galway research staff to operate and maintain the research facility

Sustainable environmental technologies will underpin future economic stability in Ireland. The WRF will help the development of innovative technologies and techniques required to meet the Water Framework Directive, protect the environment and grow the smart economy. New processes for water treatment can be trialled in real-world conditions to provide practical & robust solutions.

View a presentation on the facilities and research here.