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THE DIFFUSION OF ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY: A CASE STUDY OF ULTRAVIOLET DISINFECTION FOR WASTEWATER

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Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection is a fast-growing innovative technology within the wastewater industry. In this study, we use survey methodology and technology diffusion theory to investigate the reasons that wastewater treatment plants choose to adopt UV disinfection. The analysis of the survey results follows the diffusion of innovations model discussed by Everett Rogers (Rogers 1995). The data indicate that the lack of chlorine by-products, increased operator safety, and concern about meeting regulatory requirements are driving the adoption of UV in the wastewater field. Those facilities which have already adopted UV disinfection may be categorized as “early adoptors”; the “innovator” stage was likely reached at about 1990. The data show that a variety of information sources are important to wastewater facilities in learning about UV – particularly important are consultants and other wastewater treatment plants. This result illustrates the importance of both networks and observability in diffusing UV technology. Also, the role of a champion for the UV process proved to be important: 42% of UV adoptors indicated that someone had played the role of championing UV technology over other disinfection processes during the selection process.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-01-01

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