Research at the UWRL

Utah Water Research Laboratory Research Areas

Research programs at the Utah Water Research Laboratory (UWRL) directly address current and future needs of the state, the nation, and the world. The UWRL is organized into six major research programs supported by the Environmental Division and the Water Division.

Duckweek _ Wellsville, UT

Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment

The program is developing engineering approaches for the production of drinking water and the treatment, reclamation, recycling, and reuse of municipal and industrial wastewater, as well as evaluating the effectiveness of various septage treatment options in Utah environments. Research in this area is also creating new processes for the sustainable production of bioplastics from Utah wastewater

Jon - UWRL

Environmental Quality Management and Remediation

This program emphasizes an integrated engineering and science approach to environmental quality of land, water, and air. It includes characterization and remedial design approaches for contaminated subsurface environments at laboratory scale along with the largest field scale research of any similar academic program in the nation. Varied research in this area includes bioreactor processing of environmental materials, and engineering scale-up of biologically-based reactions are being developed in diverse areas of specialization including composting, waste reuse, biosolids processing, management of environmental biotransformation, and engineering bioprocess-optimization of wetlands. In addition to the research on water and land processes, this area also includes work on air quality problems in the state

Lindsay - UWRL

Surface and Groundwater Quality and Quantity

This diverse program has strengths in both the theoretical and applied aspects of surface and groundwater. Surface water research includes modern surface water hydrology, including climate modeling, rainfall processes, snow hydrology, floods, droughts, terminal lake analyses, soil erosion, stream water quality modeling, water-quality management, assessment and control of nonpoint source pollution and storm water, and characterization and control of dissolved and particulate natural organic matter (NOM). Current research in the groundwater area includes theoretical developments in the stochastic and numerical analysis of pollution transport in groundwater modeling, conventional and toxic contaminants in natural and engineered systems, and the practical aspects of designing technologies to clean up and manage contaminated sites in Utah’s aquifer systems

Labyrith Grad Students

Water Conveyance, Distribution, and Control

This program utilizes UWRL’s unique hydraulics laboratory for physical modeling of hydraulic structures, including optimal design for weir structures, hydraulic structures for flood control and flood bypass, testing and evaluating hydraulic machinery and piping systems, and flow meter calibration. Analytical aspects of the program include design of pipe networks for water supply, air vent sizing for small to medium sized embankment dams, sediment transport, non-contact flow measurement, open channel flow, and dam safety risk assessment

Peg Cashell teaching

Water Education and Technology Transfer

Several projects conducted by the UWRL, including many that are funded from sources other than Mineral Lease Funds, have substantial education, outreach, and training components. Resources provided by Mineral Lease moneys are sometimes used to enhance the development of technologies, training modules or educational materials, sometimes to provide technical support to Utah state agencies on water-related issues (such as the State Attorney General’s Office in Litigation involving liability assessment in hazardous waste problems)


Water Resources Planning and Management

This program area addresses institutional and legal aspects of water rights transfers, distributed water demand and supply modeling using geographical information systems, and cost allocation and determination of user fees for multiple purpose water resources projects.  Additional areas include reservoir operating policies, water conservation, river basin planning, habitat monitoring and restoration, user-driven decision support systems for water planning, and incorporation of remote sensing technology to improve water resources management