$8 Million Awarded to Drinking Water Innovation Centers

On Sept. 9, the U.S. EPA announced its continued commitment to improving America’s drinking water by providing more than $8 million to create two national centers for research and innovation in small- to medium-sized drinking water systems.

“These centers will help to develop innovative and practical solutions for challenges faced by smaller drinking water systems, which make up the majority of public water systems in the United States,” says Lek Kadeli, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “Providing cost effective solutions to help these systems deliver safe, high quality drinking water will help improve the health, economy and security of our nation’s communities.”

The recipients are the University of Colorado Boulder’s Design of Risk Reducing, Innovative Implementable Small System Knowledge (DeRISK) Center, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Water Innovation Network for Sustainable Small Systems (WINSSS) Center. These two EPA-funded centers will develop and test advanced, low-cost methods to reduce, control and eliminate groups of water contaminants that present challenges to communities worldwide.

In the U.S., 97 percent of roughly 160,000 public water systems serve fewer than 10,000 people each. These drinking water systems face many obstacles including limited resources, aging infrastructure and complying with various regulations. These centers will help strengthen the technical, managerial and financial capacities of drinking water providers throughout the country. Both centers will collaborate with a range of stakeholders to support problem-oriented research on groups of water contaminants and their origins. This research marks a move toward developing transdisciplinary results that will be nationally acceptable and applicable.

These grants, part of EPA’s research on safe and sustainable drinking water, support the development of water clusters — networks of businesses, researchers and others involved in water technology. Colorado and Massachusetts are both home to water cluster organizations. These organizations are leading the way in developing cutting-edge technologies and bringing them to the market, where they can solve water challenges that threaten health and daily activities while promoting technological innovation and economic growth.



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