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Aging Water Infrastructure (AWI) Research

Basic Information


What is EPA doing to meet the water infrastructure challenge?

EPA is changing how we view, value, manage, and invest in water infrastructure. Our research is improving and evaluating promising new technologies and processes. These technologies and processes will reduce the cost and improve water system operation, maintenance and replacement.  EPA research will focus on developing the next generation of water infrastructure to promote sustainable water resources. This will include developing public/private partnerships, such as EPA’s Water Technology Innovation Cluster.

EPA's researchers are exploring new design concepts to improve existing systems. Our research allows our customers to practice asset management, provide reliable customer service, and meet our National clean water standards.
EPA scientists are investigating the combined use of green and gray infrastructure to cope with stormwater. The use of a green-grey approach can more cost-effectively provide solutions to address sewer overflow violations. In addition, the green infrastructure can provide further social and economic benefits, such as ??.

EPA researchers are working to develop tools and technologies that will increase system sustainability in the face of droughts, water shortages, more intense storms, and other potential impacts of climate change. This research will provide the science to support implementation of EPA's National Climate Strategy, which identifies actions to prepare for climate change impacts.

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Why is EPA studying this problem?

Adequate and safe water underpins the Nation’s health, economy, security, and ecology . It is EPA's responsibility to conduct research and analyses that ensure the Nation’s water resources are safe for use and can be sustained for future generations.The Nation’s wastewater and drinking water systems are stretched to serve an increasing population. They suffer from inadequate, outdated and/or neglected infrastructure. Listed are the significant challenges our Nation’s water resources are facing:

  • Increasing demands for clean water sources
  • Changing land use practices
  • Population growth
  • Aging infrastructure
  • Climate change and variability

Aging water infrastructure is one of our Nation's top water priorities. EPA seeks to develop sustainable solutions to these complex water issues. We are proactively developing solutions to emerging and future problems. Natural and engineered system must produce, store and deliver safe and quality drinking water, and transport and treat wastewater and stormwater. This will ensure that clean and adequate water to support human well-being and strong aquatic ecosystems, now and in the future.

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Who benefits from this research?

  • Drinking water and wastewater utility managers
  • trade associations
  • local watershed protection organizations
  • federal, state & local officials
  • You!

Related Links

  • Green Infrastructure: is an approach that communities can choose to maintain healthy waters, provide multiple environmental benefits and support sustainable communities. Unlike single-purpose gray stormwater infrastructure, which uses pipes to dispose of rainwater, green infrastructure uses vegetation and soil to manage rainwater where it falls. By weaving natural processes into the built environment, green infrastructure provides not only stormwater management, but also flood mitigation, air quality management, and much more.
  • Water Technology Innovation Cluster: promotes innovation in the water technology sector through R&D collaboration among internal and external partners in the region, technology transfer, and assistance to EPA researchers in protecting intellectual property.

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