Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NSF to Fund Water and Environment Technology Center

11.02.2009
The National Science Foundation has awarded a five-year, $1.24 million grant to The University of Arizona and two other universities to fund a research center to investigate new clean-water technologies.

These new technologies include improved monitoring of large-scale water distribution systems to sensors at individual households capable of detecting dangerous chemical or biological contaminants.

The Water and Environmental Technology, or WET, Center includes the NSF Water Quality Center at the UA, and research units at Arizona State University and Temple University. Funding for the WET Center will begin Feb. 15. The UA's share of the grant is $380,000.

Ian Pepper, director of the UA Water Quality Center and a professor of soil, water and environmental sciences, said NSF funding has brought in an additional $10 million from both public and private sources over the last decade. This includes funding from the Technology and Research Infrastructure Fund, which are state sales tax revenues that target research in water and environmental sustainability, and a number of other areas.

The new WET Center allows the UA Water Quality Center to continue its "intermediate field-scale testing facility" that Pepper and others have dubbed the Water Village, a group of buildings on the grounds of the UA's Environmental Research Laboratory.

"The Water Village focuses on future treatment and distribution of water and wastewater, with enormous potential benefits for the community," Pepper said. "It focuses on research that provides good quality drinking water with acceptable purity, taste and odor characteristics, and is safe for human health and welfare."

Much of the strength of universities is in faculty expertise, and research facilities and equipment, but much of that is directed toward basic research. An industry-university cooperative research unit like the WET Center is designed to coordinate private and public sector units with research faculty to economically resolve problems.

The goal of the Water Village is to develop smart water distribution systems capable of self-monitoring and ultimately self-healing if there are contaminants within them, Pepper said. "We're a little bit away from self-healing, but the self-monitoring is something we're getting closer to.

"If the sensors went off, what would a person at Tucson Water do with that problem? Does that person shut down the entire water system of Tucson, or just to a neighborhood? In order to do that, we need to know where the contaminants originate and where they are going to go. We have a network distribution lab that does this."

Another lab, the point-of-use lab, develops and evaluates technology that is capable of taking out chemical and microbial contaminants prior to going into the consumer's home.

"The ultimate goal of the research – and this is futuristic thinking right now – would be to miniaturize in-line sensors in a box at a resident's home. Any water going into the home would go past the sensors and a little computer chip would tell if the water is safe to drink or not. The cost of this would be built into the cost of construction of new homes," he said.

Pepper said water reuse historically has been limited to irrigation of grasses and gardens. That could change in the future, where anticipated water reuse could include functions such as toilet flushing and fire protection.

"These are big changes and the Water Quality Center, the WET Center and the Water Village will all be involved in reclaimed water and making sure it is safe and does not have adverse health impacts in the community," Pepper said.

The Water Quality Center is part of the UA’s multidisciplinary Water Sustainability Program which includes the Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing, the NSF Science and Technology Center for Sustainability of Semi-arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas (SAHRA), the Superfund Basic Research Program and the Water Resources Research Center. The program provides science-based technical, economic, legal and policy expertise necessary for water development, use and conservation in a rapidly growing and largely urban state.

Contact:

Ian Pepper
Water Quality Center
520-626-3328
ipepper@ag.arizona.edu
Web sites:
Water Quality Center
http://wqc.arizona.edu/
UA Water Sustainability Program
http://www.uawater.arizona.edu/
Water Village at UA Environmental Research Lab
http://cals.arizona.edu/SWES/erl/water_village.htm

Jeff Harrison | The University of Arizona
Further information:
http://www.arizona.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt

nachricht Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>