The region's fifth annual
competition comes with a federal twist, a global challenge and a $10,000 prize opportunity.
By partnering with the US Environmental Protection Agency, Innocentive
, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District
and Northern Kentucky's Sewer District 1
, the newly announced Water Challenge competition focuses on the development of low-cost, low-maintenance sensors able to monitor sewer overflows.
Sewer overflows, which spill untold gallons of raw sewage into waterways after heavy rainfalls, remain a major challenge for cities and a major barrier to compliance with Clean Water Act regulations. Cincinnati Innovates founder Elizabeth Edwards explains this first-ever Cincinnati Innovates/government initiative:
Why is the sewer system ripe for innovation and why Cincinnati?
Cincinnati, like many other major metros, is faced with major infrastructure improvement costs to maintain our 100-plus-year-old sewer system.
Is this the first time you've partnered with a governmental agency and what do you think that signals? Why do you think the EPA is reaching out to basically "crowd source" innovations in how we handle water overflows?
This is the first time Cincinnati Innovates has partnered with a government agency.
The EPA's Water Research Lab
here in Cincinnati is one of the largest in the world. This partnership is just another example of the EPA's efforts to commercialize water technologies in the region.
Contests spur innovation. The EPA's partnership with Innocentive and Cincinnati Innovates is just one way the EPA is sourcing innovation.
How did this partnership come about and what was the process?
We've been working for several months together with Innocentive to create a prize and a process that makes sense. In defining the prize, we worked with water utility experts on both sides of the river.
What impact could this competition, and the products it support, have on the people of Cincinnati--and beyond?
This competition could save Cincinnati and cities like it millions of dollars a year - and improve safety and water quality.
The competition is open and online now.
By Elissa Yancey