BRADFORD, Ontario, Canada (WTVG) - Nine teams came from all over the world - China, the Netherlands, and West Virginia - to Canada to compete for a prize. The problem is simple in theory: how to take a nutrient out of the water before that water turns green.
"The crisis in Toledo really spoke to the magnitude of the issue," Loren Parra said. She's the director of the Barley Prize.
Thursday, contest organizers named their four finalists and first runner up in the competition.
Those finalists are Wetsus Nafrad, the U.S. Geological Survey - Leetown Science Center, the University of Idaho clear water machine and Greenwater Solution Inc.
Here is more on each specific projec from the George Barley Water Prize.
Wetsus Nafrad: Wetsus, a European Center of Excellence for sustainable water technologies based in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, has developed a remarkable technology that uses advanced filtration, flocculation, and high-capacity adsorption on a special granular iron-oxide material to push effluent phosphorus levels to extremely low levels, while producing calcium phosphate, an inorganic fertilizer as a byproduct.
U.S. Geological Survey - Leetown Science Center: The United States Geological Survey, at Leetown Science Center in Kearneysville, West Virginia, developed a remarkable method for removing phosphorus using mine drainage ochre to develop an iron-oxide filtration bed. Besides turning a waste product from mining into a valuable resource, the method can produce a phosphate fertilizer that is completely useable.
Clean Water Machine from the University of Idaho uses an innovative reactive filtration system that uses biochar (an activated charcoal), an iron-oxide adsorption filter, and ozone to both remove phosphorus to extremely low levels and also produce byproducts that can help food production.
University of Idaho clear water machine: As the bottle water rush spread across Toledo in August 2014, work to create the George Barley Water Prize was happening in Florida to find a fix for us.
Greenwater Solution Inc.: Green Water Solution, Inc., a private enterprise based in Wellington, Florida, has developed a proprietary technology, BioPhree(c) an environmentally inert system that can remove phosphorus to 10 parts per billion even with very high inputs. The process is scalable, and has been applied in industrial and municipal settings.