EPA Awards Research Grants for Developing New Lead Exposure Solutions

Virginia Tech and The Water Research Foundation each receive nearly $2 million in funds

The EPA is distributing nearly $4 million in grant funding for research and the development of new strategies to detect and control lead exposure in drinking water.

The EPA announced this week two grant awards of $1,981,500 to Virginia Tech and The Water Research Foundation in Denver, Colorado.

“Lead exposure is one of the greatest environmental threats we face as a country, and it’s especially dangerous for our children,” says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “This research will move us one step closer to advancing our work to eradicate lead in drinking water.”

Virginia Tech plans to use its funding to work collaboratively with the public and encourage citizen scientists to participate in the research.

“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,” says 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.”

The EPA also awarded $1,981,500 to The Water Research Foundation. That organization will use the funds to develop a communication framework that focuses on education and outreach for risk factors and mitigation opportunities. The communication framework will be a resource for vulnerable communities and water utilities, as well as the general public and other stakeholders.

“The ultimate objective of this research is to go beyond advancing the science by providing resources that effectively reduce exposure from lead in drinking water,” says research manager for The Water Research Foundation Jonathan Cuppett. “The critical components of the project include generating a risk-based computational model, identifying lead mitigation opportunities, and developing a communication framework to educate stakeholders on lead exposure.” 

For more information about research funding opportunities through the EPA, visit www.epa.gov/research-grants/water-research-grants.


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