Environmental engineering students win $25K grant from the EPA
A group of graduate students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering won a $25,000 federal grant to develop technology that will help remove a toxic chemical from drinking water in California.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it awarded the Phase I grant to students supervised by Professor Ashok Gadgil, who specializes in safe water and sanitation and also serves as a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The students are studying cost-effective ways to treat water contaminated by arsenic, a chemical produced by the interaction of minerals with metals and sulfur. All forms of arsenic pose serious risk to human health, the EPA says.
In California, an estimated 55,000 residents, many in rural or poor communities, depend on water contaminated with arsenic at levels above the federal safety limit of 10 parts per billion. The Berkeley team hopes to integrate technology into municipal water systems that can treat water up to 25 times the federal limit.
“The innovative ideas that these teams are bringing out of the classroom and into the real world will help solve some of our nation’s most pressing environmental challenges,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.
The teams will showcase their projects at EPA’s National Student Design Expo on June 29-30 at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. Following the Expo, the teams may compete for Phase II awards of up to $100,000 to further implement their designs.