EPA funds water reuse and conservation research

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to provide funding to five institutions to help research the impact of water reuse and conservation practices on human health and ecological conditions.

The five institutions to receive the EPA grants are the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), University of California Riverside, University of Illinois, University of Nevada, and Utah State University.

Conservation and reuse of water is a growing necessity, particularly in the western US, due to its depleting water levels caused by factors such as growing population, extreme drought and change in climate conditions.

EPA Office of Research and Development science advisor and deputy assistant administrator Thomas A Burke said: "Increasing demand for water resources is putting pressure on the finite supply of drinking water in some areas of the US.

"The research will help us manage and make efficient use of the water supply in the long-term."

"The research announced today will help us manage and make efficient use of the water supply in the long-term."

The fund will help the five institutions research the impact of reclaimed water applications, such as replenishing groundwater, drinking water reuse, and irrigation, on public and ecological health.

In collaboration with the White House Water Summit, EPA announced the $3.3m funding through its Science to Achieve Results (STAR)programme.

WERF in Alexandria, Virginia, will use the fund to identify contaminant hotspots, and their impact on human and ecological health. In addition, it will quantify the effect of water reuse and management solutions.

The University of California Riverside will be responsible for measuring levels of contaminants in vegetables and food crops that are irrigated with treated wastewater.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Urbana will use the grant to build a new framework that will help understand how adaptive UV and solar-based disinfection systems can lower the presence of viral pathogens in wastewater for reuse.

University of Nevada in Las Vegas will help quantify microbial risk, as well as compare the sustainability of indirect and direct potable water reuse systems in the country.

Utah State University in Logan will evaluate the importance of stormwater harvesting through managed aquifer recharge to facilitate additional water supplies in dry western urban ecosystems.