EPA Announces Funding to Create Two New Drinking Water Innovation Centers

On September 9th, during the opening session of the 11th Annual Drinking Water Workshop, Lek Kadeli, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development announced the award of over $8 million to create two national centers for research and innovation.  The centers will develop innovative and practical solutions for challenges faced by smaller drinking water systems.

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.  Each of the centers will incorporate the work of leading researchers from other universities and organizations around the country and facilitate getting this information to small water systems.  State drinking water programs will be included in advisory groups for the centers and during solicitation of stakeholder input.
97% of the nation’s 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 a variety of 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 towards 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 clusters 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.

For more information on the grant recipients and centers: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/smalldw.