EPA Water Research Update for 2016

As the end of 2016 approaches, EPA is sharing some highlights from their research related activities this year.  EPA’s Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Strategic Research Action Plan, 2016–2019, outlines the topics and the overall structure and purpose of the Agency’s water research program. Many of the actions from 2016 may be of particular interest to states.
Technology and Training for Small Drinking Water Systems:  From technology development through to full-scale implementation, EPA is helping to build confidence in innovative treatment technologies and approaches by conducting research that small communities—including tribal communities—and state primacy agencies can rely on to successfully remove contaminants of interest, without compromising the overall sustainability of their system. In addition, EPA’s strong outreach and training commitment is providing state agencies with the information and resources they need to communicate the latest scientific advancements and current guidance to their small systems. In 2016, this included EPA’s annual small systems workshop, which attracted over 250 attendees, and EPA’s Small Systems Monthly Webinar Series, which reached upwards of 10,000 people and provided thousands of continuing education hours.
Testing Salt-Tolerant Algae as a Desalination Method:  EPA scientists investigated the use of salt-tolerant algae – also known as halophytic algae – as a natural and sustainable method to decrease salinity in brackish water and seawater. Learn more about this research in the blog Using Green to Combat Saline: Testing Salt-Tolerant Algae as a Desalination Method.
Hydraulic Fracturing Drinking Water Final Assessment:  EPA released its final report Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas: Impacts from the Hydraulic Fracturing Water Cycle on Drinking Water Resources The final assessment represents the culmination of EPA’s study of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources in the United States.
Drinking Water Systems with a Big Problem: Harmful Algal Blooms:  EPA held a webinar preparing drinking water managers to properly treat water affected by harmful algal blooms, which are overgrowths of photosynthesizing organisms that include algae and cyanobacteria.
Technical assistance to the Flint drinking water crisis:  In coordination with EPA’s Task Force and the City and State, scientists’ involvement included project development, oversight, and implementation for distribution system monitoring for disinfectant and disinfection byproducts, lead pipe scale evaluations, pipe loop rigs for corrosion control testing, assessment of chlorine residual levels in the distribution system and the development of a flushing optimization plan. EPA researchers are currently developing sampling protocols and exposure risk assessment models for lead in drinking water.