UMass Water & Wastewater Pilot Plant

The UMass pilot plant is a multi-purpose facility that is available for use by UMass and non-UMass researchers. it is located on the western edge of the Amherst campus, immediately adjacent to the Town of Amherst's wastewater treatment plant.

The pilot plant building (see below) includes a piloting area with three interior bays, office space and a general-use laboratory. Additional testing space exists in the form of external bays.

The facility provides users a continuous flow of:

  • Raw Municipal Wastewater
  • Primary Treated Municipal Wastewater
  • Secondary Treated Municipal Wastewater
  • Local Surface Water (Mill River)
  • Local Potable Water (Amherst MA tap water)

Other standard utilites include wastewater disposal, electric power (110, 220, 440 V; single and triple phase), lighting, heat, compressed air, and vacuum. The interior bays are served by a 1-ton gantry crane and hoist, and garage door access. External bays are also available, and these include the same utilities, except heat, lighting and shelter.

The general-use laboratory includes:

  • Hach Spectrophotometer and test kits
  • Ovens and filtration setups for TSS and VSS analysis
  • pH meter and electrode
  • Microscope and Autoclave
  • Organic Carbon Analyzer
  • Many other general lab supplies

Rental of piloting space includes full use of laboratory. Options exist for assistance with piloting and testing by UMass research engineers, faculty and students. Certain types of remote or off-site testing is available through the UMass Mobile Testing Facility. There is also an opportunity to make use of the sensor testing program that is associated with the Mill River Monitoring Facility. For rates and availability, please contact Dave Reckhow, Professor and WINSSS Director and Patrick Wittbold, PP Engineer and WINSSS QC Officer.

The pilot plant facility benefits from its proximity to one of the nation's top programs in environmental engineering. The UMass Elab II research laboratory is located a mere 10 minute walk from the pilot plant, and it features world-class facilities for bench-scale testing and analysis of chemical and microbial contaminants. Users of the pilot plant may wish to take advantage these additional capabilities, especially the services offered by the Environmental Engineering Analysis Lab.

Supporting Facilities:


Additional Background:

The UMass pilot plant was originally developed in 1970 through a grant from the MA Division of Water Pollution Control and the MA DEQE (predecessors to MA DEP). It was originally intended for research and development in support of the nation's new mandates for water pollution control. Until 2016, it was used exclusively by UMass researchers. In 2016, the facility was extensively refurbished and re-launched as a resource that can accomodate outside researchers, including those from academia and industry.

Relevant Program Documents & Memos:



For more on EWRE Program history


Return to Dave Reckhow's home page.