The Center’s overall objectives will focus on applying principles of risk reduction, sustainability and new implementation approaches to innovative technologies that will reduce the risk associated with key contaminant groups and will increase the chance of adoption and sustainable use in small systems.

Experimental Approach

Through the utilization of a new cumulative risk assessment methodology, the Relative Health Indicator, we have identified two contaminant groups: microbial and disinfection by-products (DBPs); and one inorganic compound: nitrate, which collectively pose the greatest risk to drinking water consumers. The innovative technologies to be evaluated have been selected based on: a) their potential to reduce the risk posed by these contaminants, b) the lack of required chemical addition, and c) the likely hood of being successfully implemented and sustained by small systems. First and foremost the Center will focus on the development of new strategies for technology assessment and implementation. The small system landscape is littered with technologies that could not be sustained by the capacity of small systems or, more hidden, technologies that could not be implemented because of the lack of approval at the state level due to lack of state capacity. Thus, we strive to develop a multi-criteria decision support approach that will limit the inappropriate use of technologies and reduce institutional barriers to use of appropriate technologies. This approach will be developed with extensive stakeholder involvement. The technologies to be examined are either photon, biological or distribution system based. The efficacies for the following will be developed and then established in the field: a) control all of the prioritized contaminants with a range of photon- based treatment processes, b) control of particulate matter surges, DBPs and DBP precursors by novel biotreatment processes, and c) control of DBPs and DBP precursors in the distribution system by physical removal, and the optimized maintenance of chlorine residuals. By coordinating our activities with the Canadian small systems’ RES’EAU-WaterNET, we will leverage our resources in our endeavor to protect the public health of small system based consumers.

Expected Results

The Center will create decision analysis tools for assessing and implementing innovative technologies that will be applicable for a range of treatment goals, and with stakeholder buy-in, acceptable by multiple states. We will advance the science and engineering in our focused technology areas. Our programs will also build capacity in the stakeholder community and by educating the next generation of drinking water providers.