Jun 04, 2013

NGWREF Awards Two Research Grants

The two research grants total $15,895

The National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation (NGWREF) awarded grants totaling $15,895 for two research projects, one exploring emerging contaminants and the other evaluating groundwater/stream water interactions.

"Aquifer Storage and Recovery of Recycled Water: Identifying Emerging Contaminants in Source Water and Examining Their Fate and Transport" addresses a key priority area of NGWREF — the identification and quantification of emerging contaminants (endocrine-disrupting compounds, including pharmaceuticals and their metabolites) and other constituents of concern in source water used in aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). Quantitative analysis and examination of the fate and transport of these constituents during the process of ASR will be conducted throughout the project at a study site west of Melbourne, Australia. This research is considered to be of critical importance in the development of safe, effective and publicly acceptable ASR schemes, which can serve as a management tool to increase water security in areas experiencing water stress and/or variability in demand.

Projected outcomes of the research include improved understanding of the nature and concentration of emerging organic contaminants in treated wastewater (widely seen as a potential target source water for ASR schemes globally) and information on the persistence, fate and transport of these compounds during ASR. This quantitative data and improved understanding of processes will provide a basis on which regulatory agencies and practitioners of ASR can develop and implement schemes while addressing public concerns surrounding health and safety.

The lead researcher is Matthew Currell, Ph.D., Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Melbourne, Australia. The project is receiving $7,895.

The proposed research of the second project, "Isotopic Analysis to Determine Groundwater and Stream Water Interactions in a Tropical Forest Catchment," coincides with the National Ground Water Assn.'s "Declaration on the Global Importance of Groundwater" and the priority of groundwater in watersheds. The hydrologic processes occurring at the study site, as well as others in the mountainous tropics, have implications for downstream hydropower and water distribution systems. Sustainable, renewable energy sources are becoming more essential to the future of our society, and the understanding of headwater sources is imperative to the continual implementation of hydropower. The unique isotopic dataset produced will be vital to the understanding of the interactions of groundwater and stream water in tropical forest catchments; the knowledge gained can be applied to similar, as yet ungauged, watersheds.

The anticipated outcome of this project will be the determination of cycling times of water through this unique ecosystem and the scientific merit of the accumulated isotopic data used for investigating water origin in a small catchment. The results will be disseminated through a journal publication submission by December 2013 and an international conference in June 2013.

The lead researcher is Gretchen R. Miller, Ph.D., PE, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. This project is receiving $8,000.