Proving that Florida’s public universities remain at the forefront of national environmental and water initiatives, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the award of grant money and partnerships that the agency has entered into with several of the state’s top public universities.
As part of the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, the EPA will fund programs at the University of Florida and University of South Florida to develop sustainable drinking water treatment methods. According to the EPA, the goal of these innovative programs is to protect human health by keeping harmful contaminants out of drinking water. Specifically, the two universities will identify, test and evaluate the sustainability of ion exchange processes that can treat entire groups of chemical contaminants.
The University of South Florida also received funding through EPA’s STAR program to study the impacts of extreme weather on air and water quality following severe heat waves, droughts, storms, and other natural disasters. The research team includes the Tampa Bay Estuary Program. Featuring professionals engaged in coastal planning and development, the team will create a decision-support system integrating real-time environmental and satellite-based observations. Additional STAR funding will support a USF program aimed at predicting how climatic variability and extremes will affect water quality by altering water-borne disease risk for wildlife and humans.
Finally, the EPA announced that it will partner with Florida International University on research related to campus greening and sustainability. EPA will support the university through enhanced environmental research and science curricula and student opportunities in environmental careers. Such research topics include water quality, climate change, pesticides and toxins, ecosystems, sustainability and natural resource management.