Environmental Protection Laboratories


FLC Region

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701 Mapes Road
Ft. Meade, MD 20755-5350
United States

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Water is essential to our lives and plays an important role in overall health. Accessible drinking water in schools and childcare facilities, where children spend a significant portion of their days, offers children a healthy drinking option. As we encourage our children to drink tap water, we need to ensure that the water they are drinking is safe.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is partnering with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Calhoun County, Mich., in a three-year project to reduce children’s exposure to lead in drinking water. The project, a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), involves multiple EPA offices, and is spearheaded by EPA’s Office of Water (OW) and supported by the Office of Research and Development (ORD), as well as numerous regional laboratories.

The best way to know whether a school or childcare facility’s water might have elevated levels of lead, for which children are at a particular risk of exposure, is by testing tap water at these facilities.

Under the CRADA, the Calhoun County Public Health Department is testing for lead in drinking water at approximately 75 facilities in the Calhoun County area. EPA’s OW and ORD are providing technical assistance; and Regions 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10 are conducting the analyses on the samples collected. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is providing financial support to Calhoun County for this effort.

Where unsafe lead levels are discovered, various technologies will be implemented to remediate or mitigate the contamination. Currently, nine schools or childcare facilities had outlets with lead levels above 20 ppb. The remediation included flushing and plumbing component replacement. ORD and OW are assisting with identification of the appropriate remediation technology.

The data collected for this project provides valuable information on lead variability in schools and childcare facilities, before and after remediation. This data will help inform other schools across the nation about the frequency with which they should conduct lead testing. The project highlights costeffective remediation practices and technologies that schools can implement to reduce lead in drinking water. It also provides valuable cost information on these technologies, assisting EPA and communities in better understanding the costs involved with this type of lead remediation. And overall, the project will result in a decrease in lead exposure to children and staff at the facilities where these children spend a significant portion of their day.

In 2005, EPA announced the Drinking Water Lead Reduction Plan, which outlined actions the Agency would undertake in response to its review of the Lead and Copper Rule. Under the plan, the Agency stated it would continue to work with partners to promote research in key areas and efforts to protect children from lead. This CRADA allows EPA to further these goals, and helps Calhoun County make its schools and childcare facilities healthier.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a water technology innovation cluster in the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio region in 2010. Innovation clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected entities—businesses, suppliers, service providers, local government, business chambers, universities, investors, and others—that work together to promote technological innovation and economic growth.

The Cincinnati region was selected as a location for a cluster due to its many entrepreneurial businesses ready to develop water technologies. By uniting with local government and public utilities, research partners and others, ideas and technologies have a greater opportunity to move from concept to the marketplace, helping to drive local economic growth.

Below are some examples of the ways EPA’s water technology innovation cluster is collaborating with local governments and businesses to make an impact on the local economy.

EPA provided technical guidance for local startup CitiLogics to demonstrate its innovative real-time model water analytical technology toolbox to various Kentucky and Ohio water utilities. In less than two years, CitiLogics has signed its first contract with the Greater Cincinnati Water Works, allowing the company to hire its first employee. CitiLogics is bringing economic growth into the region, generating $300,000 in research grants in 2013, $500,000 in 2014, and an expected $2.5 million in 2015.

EPA’s cluster effort is working with three states— Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana—to streamline and harmonize the approval process of emerging drinking water treatment technologies. This has the potential to fast-track permitting in this three-state area, bringing new cutting-edge treatment options to the region.

EPA also developed and patented a greeninfrastructure detention basin retrofit device (the KRAKEN), which is being demonstrated in collaboration with the Boone County Conservation District and Sanitation District #1 of northern Kentucky. A northern Kentucky company is in the process of licensing the KRAKEN technology from EPA to distribute in the Midwest.

This cluster region has produced or co-produced nine conferences, workshops, symposiums and summits in the Cincinnati area, bringing nearly 2,500 people and over $2 million to the state of Ohio since 2011. In collaboration with the city of Cincinnati, EPA sponsored the International Water Association and held a major conference on Water Efficiency and Benchmarking in Cincinnati in April 2015. This was the first time this conference was held in the United States. According to the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau, conservative estimates predicted an economic impact of over $500,000.

Finally, the University of Cincinnati (UC) selected water as one of its five focus research areas over the next five years, investing $12-$15 million in this effort. This allows UC to hire six new faculty members, creating a fertile future workforce around water in support of this effort.


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