Corporate-sponsored open innovation contest seeks applicants with novel water quality sensing or remediating solutions

Milwaukee, Wis., sEPT. 1, 2020

The Water Council today announced the launch of the fall round of its corporate-sponsored open innovation contest, Tech Challenge. Sponsored by A. O. Smith, Badger Meter and Zurn, innovators with novel water quality sensing and/or remediating solutions are invited to apply for an opportunity to win money, gain access to corporate R&D resources and partner on the marketing, licensing or sale of their technology or solution.

The semi-annual Tech Challenge program connects innovators to innovative companies. Since the program’s launch in 2018, participating sponsors have identified 38 companies from 13 different countries as having novel solutions to address their technology needs. Sponsors are continuing to follow up with 27 companies that have a potential fit in their R&D programs. And more than 42 percent of the applicants were previously unknown to the sponsors.

“Through our global and highly connected network in the water community, we’ve had great success in introducing water innovators to world-class water technology brands,” said Dean Amhaus, CEO and president of The Water Council. “Participating in Tech Challenge enables progressive sponsoring companies’ R&D teams to discover innovations not typically found through their normal channels while giving water-focused entrepreneurs direct exposure to select global water technology companies.”

The fall challenge is focused on addressing solutions for water quality sensing and/or remediating for heavy metals and industrial chemicals (such as lead, PFOA and PFAS) in water and wastewater, and microbiological organisms in water and remediation using alternative (non-chlorine) disinfection technologies.

Potential applications include: presence of illicit discharges to storm and sanitary sewers; presence of pathogens in water distribution systems, wastewater effluent and biosolids; process monitoring of wastewater treatment; point of use; industrial applications; municipal water supply; well water disinfection; industrial wastewater discharge; and municipal wastewater effluent water reuse, including potable water.

Tech Challenge application criteria, online submission and other program details are available at Prospective technologies or solutions can be submitted from entrepreneurs, university students or researchers, professionals already working in water-dependent industries, private sector and government labs or inventive individuals from any location in the world. Applications are being accepted for the fall round through Nov. 1, 2020, with finalists and winners announced in mid-December.

About The Water Council

Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, next to the world’s largest freshwater system and home to one of the most influential freshwater technology hubs in the world, The Water Council (TWC) is recognized as a global center for advancing water technologies and stewardship. At its heart, TWC is a nonprofit, membership organization that connects, convenes and showcases the hub comprised of more than 238 water technology businesses and the diverse water leadership network of 200 members it is linked to from around the world. While TWC’s mission is centered on driving economic development, attracting and connecting world-class talent and supporting water-focused technology innovation, its larger goal is to help secure freshwater resources for the world by driving solutions to the numerous industries that need and use a large amount of water. Learn more by visiting

About A. O. Smith Corporation

A. O. Smith Corporation, with headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a global leader applying innovative technology and energy-efficient solutions to products manufactured and marketed worldwide. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of residential and commercial water heating equipment and boilers, as well as a manufacturer of water treatment and air purification products. For more information, visit

About Badger Meter

Badger Meter is a leading innovator, manufacturer and marketer of flow measurement and control products, serving water and gas utilities, municipalities and industrial customers worldwide. Measuring a variety of liquids — from water to oil and lubricants in commercial processes — products from Badger Meter are known for accuracy, durability and the ability to provide valuable and timely measurement information. For more information, visit

About Zurn Industries

Zurn Industries, LLC, a Rexnord company, is a recognized leader in commercial, municipal, healthcare and industrial markets. Zurn offers the largest breadth of engineered water solutions, including a wide spectrum of sustainable plumbing products. Zurn delivers total building solutions for new construction and retrofit applications that enhance any building’s environment. For more information, visit or