There is growing appreciation that wastewater treatment plants (particularly disinfection processes) and receiving environments play important roles in the development, transmission, evolution and persistence of antimicrobial resistance. ACWA provides unique infrastructure to evaluate treatment process options at bench to pilot scale, plus controlled, replicated receiving environments in which to evaluate the presence, type and effectiveness of antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance.
ACWA is a research facility focused on research and development, piloting, and demonstrations of leading-edge wastewater treatment technologies, plus evaluation of associated receiving environment effects. ACWA contains a leading-edge analytical lab, four experimental tertiary treatment modules that treat over 510,000 L/day of wastewater, and 12 fully-contained (clay-lined) experimental, naturalized, replicate streams that total over 3.8 km, in which assessments of receiving environment effects can be conducted. ACWA has three additional laboratories (aquatic toxicology; microbiology and gene sequencing; and stable isotope) on the University of Calgary campus and maintains an active network of researchers in disciplines ranging from wastewater engineering, chemistry, ecology, microbiology and public health. Students can draw on these researchers to contribute their expertise to projects as needed.