CSU researchers receive $2.2M for improved water quality
At the 14th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment in Washington, D.C., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy announced a grant of $2.2 million to the Center for Comprehensive, Optimal and Effective Abatement of Nutrients (CLEAN) at Colorado State University (CSU) to demonstrate sustainable solutions for reduction of nutrient pollution in the nation’s waterways.
CSU is among four research institutions receiving a total of $9 million in EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants to advance innovative and sustainable water research to manage harmful nutrient pollution. Nutrient pollution is one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems, and is caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in waterways.
The mission of CSU’s CLEAN Center is to create knowledge, build capacity, and forge collaboration to develop and demonstrate sustainable solutions for reduction of nutrient pollution in the nation’s water resources. CSU researchers will use the EPA grant to lead a multi-stakeholder effort to study and control the sources of excess nutrients in wastewater, stormwater, agricultural water, and natural systems. Key areas of research include: wastewater treatment tech nologies; water reuse systems; urban stormwater management; agricultural conservation; socioeconomic incentives; nutrient trading; and water rights.
“These grants will go towards research to help us better manage nutrients and better protect our precious water resources from the dangers of nutrient pollution, especially in a changing climate,” said Administrator McCarthy.
When excessive nitrogen and phosphorus enter our waterways—usually via stormwater runoff and industrial activities—water can become polluted. Nutrient pollution has impacted many streams, rivers, lakes, bays and coastal waters for the past several decades, resulting in serious environmental and health issues, and negatively impacting the economy. For example, nutrient pollution can reduce oxygen levels in water, leading to illnesses in, and the death of, large numbers of fish. In some cases nutrient pollution leads to elevated toxins and bacterial growth in waters that can make people sick.
STAR grants announced by Administrator McCarthy are an integral part of EPA’s research on water quality and availability. Improving existing water infrastructure is costly, which makes creating new and sustainable approaches to water use, reuse and nutrient management important.
These grants support sustainable water research and demonstration projects consistent with a comprehensive strategy for managing nutrients and active community engagement throughout the research process.
In addition to CSU, the following institutions received grants:
• Pennsylvania State University Center for Integrated Multi-scale Nutrient Pollution Solutions, to focus on nutrient flows in Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake basin;
• University of South Florida Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management, to support Tampa Bay and similar coastal areas as they face problems of aging wastewater collection and treatment systems, and rapid population growth;
• Water Environment Research Foundation, Alexandria, VA, National Center for Resource Recovery and Nutrient Management, for innovative research in nutrient reduction through resource recovery and behavioral factors affecting acceptance and implementation.
For more information on CSU’s CLEAN Center, visit engr.colostate.edu/ce/ For more information on the grants and projects, visit epa.gov/ncer/nutrient For more information on EPA-funded research supporting water quality and availability, visit epa.gov/ research/waterscience. — WLJ