EPA awards $6.4M to national water reuse research

Oct. 7, 2022
The agency delivered research grants to Iowa State University and the Water Research Foundation to analyze communities’ barriers to water reuse nationwide.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is distributing research grants totaling $6.4 million to Iowa State University and the Water Research Foundation for research to advance expanded water reuse.

“Safe and reliable water is critical to protecting public health, and innovative solutions for reusing water can improve water availability and access across the nation,” says Chris Frey, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “These research projects will help advance water reuse applications so communities, local and state governments, and Tribes can provide alternatives to existing water resources.”

 These research grants are provided through the Water Innovation, Science, and Engagement to Advance Water Reuse Research Funding Opportunity. They are intended to support national efforts to reduce the technological and institutional barriers that block expanded water reuse. EPA hopes that the research will help accelerate water innovation, information availability, and engagement.

The awards went to two organizations for separate research projects:

Iowa State University, in Ames, Iowa, received $3,246,000 for the research project “Accelerating Technical and Community Readiness for Water Reuse in Small Systems.” The project’s research will look into accelerating rural communities’ water reuse adoption. Through an integrated research and engagement program, the researchers will integrate technological, institutional, and regulatory decision-making processes across five rural communities in Iowa, Rhode Island, California, and Colorado. The researchers will then evaluate communities’ reuse readiness and provide decision support tools such as water inventories, or cost and demand curves for reuse.

The Water Research Foundation, in Denver, Colo., received $3,245,999 for the research project “Unlocking the Nationwide Potential for Water Reuse.” The project will use wastewater surveillance to develop water reuse systems’ ability to respond to pathogen loads or chemical health risks. The project will develop a model for reuse treatment processes that include predictive algorithms and real-time monitoring. The research will also analyze the nation’s water reuse potential, barriers and pathways to reuse, and effective reuse capacity-building strategies.

More information about the projects is available on EPA’s website.

“As we celebrate the Clean Water Act’s 50th Anniversary this month, we are proud to announce a research grant that will expand water reuse adoption efforts,” says EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “We’re looking forward to seeing the research performed by Iowa State University resulting in expanded water reuse and an increase in water quality and availability in underserved communities.”