EPA awards $1.5 million to universities for sustainable drinking water treatment methods

September 14, 2012 | Development, Rural

WASHINGTON (EPA) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Sept. 6 almost $1.5 million in funding to three universities to develop sustainable drinking water treatment methods.  The research grants are funded through EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program. These grants, which supplement last year’s grants to eight other universities, are intended to provide innovative treatment methods to protect people’s health by keeping harmful contaminants out of drinking water.

In 2010, EPA announced a new drinking water strategy to strengthen protections against contaminants in drinking water and promote cost-effective new technologies to meet the needs of communities across the country struggling with water challenges. The research sponsored by these grants will help satisfy the key goals of this strategy.

The grantees are:

  • University of Nevada, Reno – quantifying the range of drinking water contaminants and contaminant classes that can be removed by membrane distillation, and developing and testing a small-scale pilot system that operates using waste heat
  • University of Florida, Gainesville and University of South Florida, Tampa – identifying, testing, and evaluating the sustainability of ion exchange processes that can treat entire groups of chemical contaminants
  • Clarkson University, Potsdam, N.Y. – engineering, developing, and demonstrating an integrated process comprised of membrane technology and electrical discharge plasma generated via a novel reticulated vitreous carbon (RVC) electrode material

There are approximately 157,000 public drinking water systems in the U.S. regulated by EPA, states, or tribes that provide drinking water to 90 percent of Americans.  More than 290 million people living in the U.S. rely on the safety of tap water provided by public water systems that are subject to national drinking water standards.

EPA’s STAR grant program supports human health, ecology, economics and engineering sciences through grants, centers, and fellowships.

More information on the grants

More information on EPA’s new Drinking Water Strategy

More information on STAR grants