EPA Announces $330,000 for UNLV to Research Microbes in Water Reuse Systems

SAN FRANCISCO – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $329,650 to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to research human and ecological health impacts associated with water reuse and conservation practices. Nationally, $3.3 million was awarded to five institutions nationwide for water reuse and conservation research.

“Competing water needs, combined with impacts from prolonged droughts and a changing climate, has increased demands on the finite drinking water resources in the West,” said Tomás Torres, Water Division Director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “The research UNLV will be doing can help advance the role that recycled water plays in meeting our long-term supply needs.”

“Located in an arid desert, we understand first-hand the importance of mitigating the effects of long-term drought and finding solutions to the increasing demand on our water resources,” said Rama Venkat, Dean of UNLV’s Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering. “We are proud to have our faculty’s work highlighted on the national stage and potentially be part of the solution to securing a sustainable water resource for the future.”

UNLV researchers will use the funds to determine the risk of microbes in various water reuse systems in the United States. Water conservation practices that promote water reuse are becoming increasingly important, especially in the western United States, where factors such as climate change, extreme drought, and population growth are decreasing water availability. To help promote sustainable water reuse, this research will evaluate how reclaimed water applications such as potable reuse, aquifer recharge, and irrigation can affect public and ecological health.

EPA announced these grants in conjunction with the White House Water Summit, which was held to raise awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the United States, and to catalyze ideas and actions to help build a sustainable and secure water future through innovative science and technology.

The following institutions also received funding through EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program:
· University of California Riverside, Riverside, Calif. to measure levels of contaminants in common vegetables and other food crops irrigated with treated wastewater, and to evaluate human dietary exposure.
· Utah State University, Logan, Utah to assess the impacts and benefits of stormwater harvesting using Managed Aquifer Recharge to develop new water supplies in arid western urban ecosystems.
· Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) Alexandria, Va. to actively identify contaminant hotspots, assess the impact of those hotspots on human and ecological health, and quantify the impact of water reuse and management solutions.
· University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Urbana, Ill. to develop a new framework to understand how adaptive UV and solar-based disinfection systems reduce the persistence of viral pathogens in wastewater for sustainable reuse.

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