EPA Awards Nearly $1.5 Million to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science on Potential Risks from Pollutants Found in Biosolids from Wastewater Treatment
PHILADELPHIA (Sept. 30, 2021) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the awarding of $1,486,562 today to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) for research to determine the potential risks to human health and the environment from pollutants found in biosolids, also known as sewage sludge. VIMS is one of four institutions from across the nation to receive the support.
“It is important that municipalities and utilities have the information they need to treat and manage biosolids,” said Wayne Cascio, acting assistant administrator for science in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “These grants will help us leverage resources and knowledge to ensure the latest science is being used to protect public health and the environment.”
Researchers from VIMS will evaluate the influence of wastewater source and treatment choice on pollutants in sludge to improve strategies for monitoring sludge-related pollutants, select optimal treatment processes and reduce contaminate levels in U.S. biosolids and receiving soils. Outcomes will facilitate improvements, and in turn, will decrease associated public health and ecosystem risks.
Biosolids are created during the wastewater treatment process. They do have benefits when applied to land – they add nutrients, improve soil structure, and enhance moisture retention. However, biosolids can also contain a variety of pollutants. Utilities and states need information on these pollutants to ensure that they are processed, handled, and used in a way that minimizes potential harm.
In addition to VIMS, the following institutions are receiving research grants:
- Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.
- Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.
- The Water Research Foundation, Denver, Colo.
More information on EPA research grants: https://www.epa.gov/research-grants