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NSF to fund water and environment technology center
Date:2/10/2009

The National Science Foundation has awarded a five-year, $1.24 million grant to The University of Arizona and two other universities to fund a research center to investigate new clean-water technologies.

These new technologies include improved monitoring of large-scale water distribution systems to sensors at individual households capable of detecting dangerous chemical or biological contaminants.

The Water and Environmental Technology, or WET, Center includes the NSF Water Quality Center at the UA, and research units at Arizona State University and Temple University. Funding for the WET Center will begin Feb. 15. The UA's share of the grant is $380,000.

Ian Pepper, director of the UA Water Quality Center and a professor of soil, water and environmental sciences, said NSF funding has brought in an additional $10 million from both public and private sources over the last decade. This includes funding from the Technology and Research Infrastructure Fund, which are state sales tax revenues that target research in water and environmental sustainability, and a number of other areas.

The new WET Center allows the UA Water Quality Center to continue its "intermediate field-scale testing facility" that Pepper and others have dubbed the Water Village, a group of buildings on the grounds of the UA's Environmental Research Laboratory.

"The Water Village focuses on future treatment and distribution of water and wastewater, with enormous potential benefits for the community," Pepper said. "It focuses on research that provides good quality drinking water with acceptable purity, taste and odor characteristics, and is safe for human health and welfare."

Much of the strength of universities is in faculty expertise, and research facilities and equipment, but much of that is directed toward basic research. An industry-university cooperative research unit like the WET Center is designed to coordinate private and public sector u
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Contact: Ian Pepper
ipepper@ag.arizona.edu
520-626-3328
University of Arizona
Source:Eurekalert

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