National Priorities: Water Innovation, Science and Engagement to Advance Water Reuse Grants
EPA awarded two institutions over $6 million in total research funding to address multiple water reuse sources and applications to support national efforts to reduce technological and institutional barriers for expanded water reuse.
Water reuse (also commonly known as water recycling or water reclamation) represents a major opportunity to enhance the sustainability and efficient use of water resources to ensure the quality and quantity of existing water supplies. It is a well-established practice in some areas of the U.S. and internationally, yet substantial barriers exist to expand its consideration and application for different purposes and benefits.
Water reuse reclaims water from a variety of sources then treats and reuses it for beneficial purposes such as agriculture and irrigation, potable water supplies, groundwater replenishment, industrial processes and environmental restoration. There are additional opportunities to reuse water from other sources, such as stormwater, agricultural flows and industrial waters and for other use applications. Communities, agriculture and businesses are looking to diversify their water supply portfolios to meet current and future needs.
This research will help improve the national understanding of the water available for reuse and the critical impediments to advancing water reuse across the U.S., including public acceptance.
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
Award Amount: $3,246,000
Project Title: Accelerating Technical and Community Readiness for Water Reuse in Small Systems
Principal investigator (PI): Kaoru Ikuma
Study Locations: Iowa, Rhode Island, California, Colorado
The objective of this project is to accelerate water reuse adoption in rural communities by increasing technical and community readiness. The general hypothesis is that community readiness for water reuse in small systems can be accelerated by a convergence of technical, informational, social and institutional innovation. The proposed work will be an integrated research and engagement program in which to: (1) address knowledge gaps and generate frameworks for overcoming these barriers and (2) use research outputs to evaluate and accelerate community readiness for reuse in five case studies. The key results include modular, decision support tools such as water inventories, technology databases, cost and demand curves for reuse. These outputs will be integrated into institutional and regulatory decision-making processes in small, rural, underserved communities with results made available to communities through workshops, outreach events, and publications.
The Water Research Foundation, Denver, Colorado
Award Amount: $3,245,999
Project Title: Unlocking the Nationwide Potential of Water Reuse
Principal investigator (PI): Lyndsey Bloxom
Study Locations: Across the United States (U.S.)
The proposed research will use wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) and surveillance to understand pathogen loading and enable rapid identification and response in reuse systems, develop quantitative microbial risk assessment tools for application to underappreciated reuse applications, and identify opportunities for chemical health risk reduction. This research project will (1) develop a comprehensive model for reuse treatment processes that includes predictive algorithms, integrated to evaluate treatment train performance for microbial and chemical water quality goals, incorporating pilot demonstration and techno-economic analysis to support real-time monitoring and risk mitigation, (2) quantify water reuse potential across the nation and identify barriers, drivers and pathways to successful reuse through a rigorous case study evaluation process and partner with community leaders to synthesize and address organizational and social barriers to advancing reuse across diverse contexts and for traditional marginalized communities, and (3) evaluate planned and potential reuse projects through a quantitative sustainable design process to identify strategies for water reuse capacity building efforts expanding reuse across a diversity of contexts. The expected results of this work will provide interested groups of diverse backgrounds with user friendly tools and materials to advance water reuse in their community.