Success Story

Support From EPA Creates Regional Water Treatment Opportunities and Boosts Economy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a water technology innovation cluster in the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio region in 2010. Innovation clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected entities—businesses, suppliers, service providers, local government, business chambers, universities, investors, and others—that work together to promote technological innovation and economic growth.

The Cincinnati region was selected as a location for a cluster due to its many entrepreneurial businesses ready to develop water technologies. By uniting with local government and public utilities, research partners and others, ideas and technologies have a greater opportunity to move from concept to the marketplace, helping to drive local economic growth.

Below are some examples of the ways EPA’s water technology innovation cluster is collaborating with local governments and businesses to make an impact on the local economy.

EPA provided technical guidance for local startup CitiLogics to demonstrate its innovative real-time model water analytical technology toolbox to various Kentucky and Ohio water utilities. In less than two years, CitiLogics has signed its first contract with the Greater Cincinnati Water Works, allowing the company to hire its first employee. CitiLogics is bringing economic growth into the region, generating $300,000 in research grants in 2013, $500,000 in 2014, and an expected $2.5 million in 2015.

EPA’s cluster effort is working with three states— Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana—to streamline and harmonize the approval process of emerging drinking water treatment technologies. This has the potential to fast-track permitting in this three-state area, bringing new cutting-edge treatment options to the region.

EPA also developed and patented a greeninfrastructure detention basin retrofit device (the KRAKEN), which is being demonstrated in collaboration with the Boone County Conservation District and Sanitation District #1 of northern Kentucky. A northern Kentucky company is in the process of licensing the KRAKEN technology from EPA to distribute in the Midwest.

This cluster region has produced or co-produced nine conferences, workshops, symposiums and summits in the Cincinnati area, bringing nearly 2,500 people and over $2 million to the state of Ohio since 2011. In collaboration with the city of Cincinnati, EPA sponsored the International Water Association and held a major conference on Water Efficiency and Benchmarking in Cincinnati in April 2015. This was the first time this conference was held in the United States. According to the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau, conservative estimates predicted an economic impact of over $500,000.

Finally, the University of Cincinnati (UC) selected water as one of its five focus research areas over the next five years, investing $12-$15 million in this effort. This allows UC to hire six new faculty members, creating a fertile future workforce around water in support of this effort.