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Research:

(rĭ-sūrch', rē'sūrch')
n.
  1. Scholarly or scientific investigation or inquiry. See synonyms at inquiry.
  2. Close, careful study.
v., -searched, -search·ing, -search·es.

v.intr.

To engage in or perform research.

v.tr.
  1. To study (something) thoroughly so as to present in a detailed, accurate manner: researching the effects of acid rain.
  2. To do research for: research a magazine article.

[Obsolete French recerche, from recercher, to search closely, from Old French : re-, re- + cerchier, to search; see search.]

re·search'a·ble adj.
re·search'er or re·search'ist n.

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Infrastructure Systems
--- Research agenda ---

Optimal Water Treatment Systems

  • Central and distributed treatment technology optimization
    Our work has studied the cost and treatment advantage of using a distributed water treatment system, with treatment units located throughout the water distribution system. Essentially our aim has been to answer the question: for a given water quality requirement(s), what is the best method to meet that requirement for the least cost? Our initial efforts concerned the cost equivalency point (or "breakeven" cost) between the central facility and distributed treatment unit approaches.
  • Water quality degradation in distribution systems
    Water quality degradation within the distribution system is a key parameter in the viability of distributed systems. We have worked on several modeling approaches to characterize water quality degradation within the distribution system. We have based almost all of our work on the fundamental concept that water degrades within the distribution system.

  • Global water quality cost optimization
    We have investigated the optimal combination of centralized and distributed treatment technologies. We found that the "best" treatment approach (meaning cheapest overall costs) to meet any water quality criteria that varied as a function of water age was always a combination of both central and distributed treatment technologies. In other words, neither fully centralized treatment technologies (which should be noted here as being the standard approach!) nor fully distributed treatment technologies are completely efficient. We have assumed for this argument "typical" scale economies and treatment efficiencies.

  • Distributed treatment unit design: treatment technology and ancillary requirements
    A successful implementation of distributed treatment units needs to address a considerably different set of criteria than a conventional central treatment facility. We have undertaken a technology selection analysis approach which considers the functional requirements and technology risk factors, along with system specific water quality parameters, to target the selection and development of technologies within the distributed treatment unit.

Sustainability and efficiency of urban systems

  • Urban infrastructure systems: measurement and characterization
    Urban infrastructure systems are typically managed as non-profit, government, monopolies, resulting in little incentive to improve (in any particular characteristic or measurement criteria) compared to other municipalities. There is a fundamental difficulty even in obtaining the knowledge (measuring) of how a particular municipality compares, let alone trying to use that information to foster change and improvement. In the overwhelming majority of cases government managers are not efficient NOT because they are crooks or are stupid. Rather, they work in an environment which does not measure or reward improved capabilities compared to other municipalities. This research effort is concerned with determining relevant data and measurement to characterize urban systems.
  • Publicly available data sets
    The primary obstruction towards improving an urban system is the current inability to perform system measurement and comparison. The incapacity to measure and compare capability is rooted in the fundamental lack of publicly available data sets containing relevant urban system variables. We have been studying methods to collect and disperse urban system data.

  • Data envelopment analysis and benchmarking
    Data envelopment analysis (DEA) is concerned with measuring the comparative abilities of different organization units to meet relevant measurement criteria. We have used DEA to measure the comparative capability of water utilities to meet water treatment and delivery goals. It is a very useful method, among several that exist, for comparing capabilities of various entities and is noted for its non-arbitrary method of assigning weights to varying measurement criteria.

  • Water use/reuse: public health and perception
    All drinking water comes previously used, yet public perceptions prevent direct water treatment and reuse. These perceptions are based in emotional, non-scientific perceptions of water purity.

  • Urban resource management and life-cycle analysis
    Solid wastes, yard wastes, sewage biomass, lime waste: these are all potential resources if properly defined. Our work uses a system-level analysis of urban waste streams to present an urban system design with negligible residual wastes, based on existing technologies and capabilities and not futuristic fantasy.

Why pursue a doctorate? - The graduate degree as constructing a puzzle.

walterjweberjr.com - Walter J. Weber, Jr., I am the webmaster for this brief page, more to come Spring of 2006