The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced UF will be among a group of universities to receive a $1.5 million research grant to look into ways to treat drinking water.
The EPA gave UF and USF’s team $499,360 for the four-year project. The EPA Science to Achieve Results program funds the grant.
Treavor H. Boyer, UF and USF principal investigator, said the grants are funding new, innovative ideas. He said the program is starting by figuring out how to treat water from U.S. cities and could eventually be used in more rural parts of the world.
“We are trying to remove multiple contaminants from water at the same time,” he said. “A lot of processes just focus on removing a single contaminate from water.”
UF plans to give some of the grant money to USF, so its researchers can be involved in the project, he said.
Boyer said he decided to involve USF in the research, because he respects its life-cycle analysis program and the work being done there. He said the research made at UF will be more expensive, because it will be completed in a laboratory, while USF research will be done on computers.
The money from the grant will sponsor one Ph.D. student at each university to continue the research.
Boyer said the research will focus on ions and the range of potential environmental impacts.
Boyer said one method to treat water is to draw contaminants out by using methods similar to a magnet. An opposing charge attracts the contaminants, he said.
The $1.5 million grant, which was announced early this semester, is a supplement to a previous grant, which included eight colleges. UF, USF, University of Nevada and Clarkson University are recipients of the new grant.
The project’s pilot program will test the water at Cedar Key, he said.
“I’m really excited by the EPA making it a priority to help small water systems,” he said.