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New UC Santa Barbara-based project to study contaminants in urban water environment
Date:8/7/2012

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) What contaminants lurk in the urban subsurface, and what happens to them once they're there? Do they make their way into storm drains and creeks to reach groundwater, or even oceans? Or do they naturally attenuate as they migrate through soils, somehow allowing them to self-cleanse as they travel? A UC Santa Barbara researcher hopes to find out, thanks to a generous new gift to fund her work.

Longtime water industry executive Henry H. Wheeler, Jr. has awarded $1.25 million to the Bren School of Environment Science & Management for Professor Patricia Holden's new initiative, "Urban Water Environment," a research and training program on urban water quality. The dual-thrust endeavor looks to identify and quantify threats to surface waters and groundwater in urban environments and determine how to mitigate them.

"Henry Wheeler's strategic and visionary philanthropy will make a meaningful difference in addressing local and global water quality issues; I am honored to thank him for his leadership and generosity in supporting this critical initiative on water contaminant processes and management," said Chancellor Henry T. Yang. "We are extremely proud of Professor Holden's accomplishments and continuing research efforts on microbial ecology and engineered nanoparticles in the vadose zone."

"This is a generous gift by someone who understands water inside and out, and how important research can be in creating solutions to water quality threats," Holden said of Wheeler. "He understands that this is the way we live now, in urban environments. It's not just about the pipes underneath our roads and buildings. It really is all one system. We have potable water to drink and shower with, but we generate waste streams that can then threaten the very resource that cities depend upon ongoing sources of clean water. Rainfall running off polluted surfaces becomes a sort of waste stream. Industries and businesses store and spill
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Contact: Shelly Leachman
shelly.leachman@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-8726
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

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