WE&RF to Receive $4.5 Million Grant from California State Water Board for Recycled Water Research

The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) has been awarded a $4.5 million grant from the California Water Resources Control Board to identify, prioritize, solicit, and select for funding research studies related to potable and non-potable water reuse.  

Under the California Water Recycling Funding Program guidelines, the State Water Board has dedicated funding for recycled water research and development. In addition, the State Water Board’s Recycled Water Policy includes goals to significantly increase the use of recycled water over 2002 volumes. To achieve these goals, the State Water Board is investing in research to enhance the understanding and acceptability of all types of water reuse in California. 

The potable reuse research projects funded under this grant will be guided by a recently completed State Water Board sponsored expert panel on the feasibility of developing direct potable reuse (DPR) regulations. In December 2016, the State Water Board published a legislatively mandated report that determined it is feasible to develop uniform water recycling criteria for DPR in California.  

That report, which relied in part on WE&RF research findings, identified scientific and technical challenges that must be addressed before criteria can be adopted to ensure that public health is reliably protected at all times. In addition, the expert panel recommended several areas of research that would enhance the understanding and acceptability of DPR in California. These research recommendations included conducting a literature review on potential health risks of contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) likely to be present in recycled water, improving monitoring of pathogens in raw wastewater, and developing comprehensive analytical methods to identify unknown compounds.   

Announcements on opportunities for researchers to be involved will be shared on www.werf.org later this summer.

Jonathan Heller