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 Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

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: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Chances to treat childhood dementia

24.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

Improved Performance thanks to Reduced Weight

24.07.2017 | Automotive Engineering

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>