Human and Ecological Health Impacts Associated with Water Reuse and Conservation Practices

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Human and Ecological Health Impacts Associated with Water Reuse and Conservation Practices

Human and Ecological Health Impacts Associated with Water Reuse and Conservation Practices

Synopsis of Program:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is seeking applications to conduct research on and demonstration of human and ecological impacts of treated wastewater applications (reclaimed water and wastewater reuse), and water conservation practices including the use of non-traditional water sources as well as more comprehensive long-term management and availability of water resources.

In the U.S., nearly 32.4 billion gallons of municipal wastewater are treated by publically owned treatment works (POTWs). According to the 2012 National Research Council (NRC) Report Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer (1), approximately 12 billion gallons of municipal wastewater effluent is discharged to an ocean or estuary per day. The remainder is presumed discharged to freshwater, helping maintain flow for downstream ecology and human uses, and could be considered a form of “reuse”. The Report also identified reuse of wastewater as a potential reliable source for both potable and non-potable uses for communities facing water challenges. However, unknowns about the exact quality of this water source remain a challenge. A variety of contaminants may be present in wastewater and stormwater such as metals, salts, organic chemicals, nutrients, pathogens and emerging contaminants such as nanoparticles, pharmaceuticals and other personal care products (PPCPs). For purposes of this RFA, treated wastewater or reclaimed water refers to reuse of municipal wastewater and stormwater; grey water1 and yellow water2 applications with considerations for planned and unplanned reuse, including direct and indirect potable and nonpotable applications. This RFA is especially interested in research that measures and quantifies health and ecological impacts from unplanned potable reuse, also termed de facto water reuse and planned reuse in comparison to conventional systems.

www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2014/2014_star_water-reuse.html
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