CWA Announces Debut of Korean Water Tech in $6M Pilot Project at Avon Lake Regional Water

June 26, 2024

Cleveland Water Alliance is excited to announce the North American debut of an innovative water treatment technology - launching right here in Northeast Ohio. CWA facilitated this pilot, valued at $6 million, in partnership with South Korean tech company Techwin and progressive water utility Avon Lake Regional Water. This technology generates high-concentrate hypochlorite onsite, eliminating the need to ship this expensive chemical, and allows Avon Lake Regional Water to sell the product to other local utilities at a fair market rate.

This project is a demonstration of Cleveland Water Alliance’s commitment to breaking down barriers within the water economy, bridging the gap between solutions-providers and end-users, and accelerating innovative water solutions to our most urgent freshwater needs. 

A Groundbreaking Technology enters the North American Market

With water utilities needing easier access to EPA-mandated chlorine-based finishing products, the North American market is ripe for groundbreaking technology to be introduced. The technology, a sodium hypochlorite generating system producing a high-concentrate 12% solution, allows utilities to produce the disinfectant onsite. Access to this technology removes the burden from utilities seeking to procure chemicals and ensures they remain compliant with treatment regulations requiring chlorine to be used.

The trial of this new technology at Avon Lake Regional Water will be the first in North America. 

A South Korean Connection

South Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water) is a government-run institution specializing in water resource management. Its focus is providing clean water and creating clean energy through various technologies. K-water's transformative technology is used in South Korea, Vietnam, and other Asian countries.

With Cleveland Water Alliance's strong global presence and reputation, CWA formed a relationship with Sungkyunkwan University Professor Kyung-Taek Yum. Professor Yum, who previously worked for K-water and other institutions in South Korea and was part of South Korea's Smart Grid Research project. In 2018, Professor Yum visited Cleveland Water Alliance and signed an MOU, cementing a partnership with the organization.

Read more about our connection to Korean water organizations
Singing of MOU at Korea International Water Week, 2022

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With a connection in place, CWA worked with K-water to connect with Techwin’s promising innovation, bringing high-concentrate hypochlorite/chlorine generation to the United States. This would replace the need to seek disinfectant chemical suppliers and allow individual treatment centers to centralize the production of disinfectant solutions.

The Need for a Safer and More Sustainable Solution

Chlorination (adding chlorine or another disinfectant to water) is a standard part of the treatment process for water utilities. This helps them remove hazardous bacteria and microorganisms from water. Using chlorine to disinfect water is not new in the United States. According to the CDC, chlorine was first introduced as a disinfectant in 1908 and has become a common chemical used to disinfect and treat water. 

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With the acceleration and adoption of Techwin’s sodium hypochlorite generating system, utilities and treatment facilities that in the past would have imported their treatment chemicals can now generate the needed chlorine solutions onsite, providing utilities the ability to produce disinfection solutions in high concentrations. This system not only benefits the utilities by reducing costs and transportation risks, but it also has the potential to generate additional income, as the utilities could sell the excess chlorine to neighboring utilities.

Bryan Stubbs visits on-site demonstration of hypo-chlorination technology in South Korea, 2022

Avon Lake Regional Water: Answering the Call for Action

To demonstrate the technology, Cleveland Water Alliance needed a partner to trial the system. At a local One Water Ohio Technical Conference in 2022, CWA President and Executive Director Bryan Stubbs gave a keynote presentation, extending a request for a pilot partner. Six utilities responded, and Avon Lake Regional Water was selected due to its size, readiness, and approach to incorporating innovative solutions.

Avon Lake Regional Water

"If this technology performs as anticipated, Avon Lake Regional Water will be the first water utility in the United States to install an onsite sodium hypochlorite generating system producing at a 12% solution," explained Robert Monro, Avon Lake Regional Water’s Chief Utilities Executive. "This will not only allow Avon Lake Regional Water to become self-sufficient for disinfection purposes, but other utilities in the region will also benefit economically by having another supply source for their disinfection needs at a below market price.”

Collaborating for A Better Freshwater Future

For utilities like Avon Lake Regional Water, the ability to produce high-concentrate hypochlorite solutions is monumental, answering the call for an immense need in the water industry and revolutionizing the North American market. Through onsite generation, utilities and treatment facilities reduce their risk by limiting disruptions and rising costs within the supply chain and ensuring they have a steady supply of treatment chemicals. With the price of chlorine having risen three times since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, cost reductions to utilities and rate-payers are more than welcome.

For Cleveland Water Alliance, an organization that has moved the needle in freshwater innovation by connecting industry stakeholders and forging exciting pilot programs, this project highlights CWA's expansive role in the global water sector.

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Fostering a powerful partnership with K-Water, Techwin, and Avon Lake Regional Water has further cemented Cleveland Water Alliance’s unique position as a cross-sector connector, accelerating market-driven innovation and facilitating pilots based on a deep understanding of industry needs.

This pioneering project will introduce a transformative technology to the North American market, reduce environmental and public safety risks, and generate beneficial economic opportunities for our region and beyond.

"CWA has worked hard to become a lighthouse for trialing technologies, from a global perspective.”

-Bryan Stubbs, CWA President & Executive Director on exciting partnership with K-water and the potential for testing technology that is new to the U.S.

"We went through the East Palestine train derailment here in Ohio, downstate, and we don't want to repeat that. We're realizing there are smarter ways to approach creating some of these treatment solutions.”

-Bryan Stubbs, CWA President & Executive Director

“Cleveland Water Alliance is proud to accelerate the adoption of this groundbreaking technology in the Great Lakes region. Fostering a world-class freshwater innovation ecosystem right here in Northeast Ohio would not be possible without these types of collaborations.”

-Bryan Stubbs, CWA President & Executive Director

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