The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced $1,981,500 in funding to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Va., to research strategies to detect and control lead exposure in drinking water.
“Lead exposure is one of the greatest environmental threats we face as a country, and it’s especially dangerous for our children,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “This research will move us one step closer to advancing our work to eradicate lead in drinking water.”
Virginia Tech will use this funding to create a consumer-based framework to detect and control lead in drinking water. Researchers will work collaboratively with the public, encouraging citizen scientists to participate in the research. By involving consumers directly in research, this community science project is designed to increase public awareness of lead in water and plumbing at a national scale. This research expands the capacity of the most vulnerable communities to actively participate in identifying risks and evaluating opportunities to mitigate those risks.
“Our team will establish one of the largest citizen science engineering projects in U.S. history to help individuals and communities deal with our shared responsibility for controlling exposure to lead in drinking water through a combination of low-cost sampling, outreach, direct collaboration, and modeling,” said Principal Investigator on the Project Dr. Marc Edwards. “We will tap a growing ‘crowd’ of consumers who want to learn how to better protect themselves from lead, and in the process, also create new knowledge to protect others. Whether from wells or municipalities, we all consume water, and we can collectively work to reduce health risks.”
Administrator Pruitt has made it a priority to reduce lead exposure and address associated health impacts, while also protecting America’s waters. The grant awarded to Virginia Tech is one of two grants totaling almost four million dollars to detect and control lead in America’s drinking water announced today. EPA also awarded $1.9 million to the Water Research Center in Denver, Colo., to create a risk-based model to identify opportunities to mitigate lead exposure from drinking water including at home and among children and pregnant women.
For more information about these grants: https://www.epa.gov/research-grants/water-research-grants.