needs and skills. Today, utilities are
benefiting from our research to develop
more effective talent management plans.
Keeping water safe and plentiful is critically
important to our well-being and livelihoods.
Some of the Foundation’s most innovative
research has been in the areas of endocrine
disrupting compounds (EDCs), ultraviolet
radiation, and membrane treatment.
A 2008 Associated Press series questioned
a lack of oversight and regulation of trace
amounts of EDCs, personal care products,
pesticides, and prescription drugs in our
nation’s drinking water.
Long before this series went public, the
Foundation had already completed research
to identify trace levels of EDCs and drugs in
water and explore potential links to human
health. Our research has concluded that
no definitive link exists between EDCs in
drinking water and human health risk.
After sharing our findings with Congress,
we helped utilities discuss the research
with their customers and local media.
We also committed up to $1 million per
year to an integrated, multi-year research
program to address issues associated with
ultra-low levels of drugs and chemicals in
the water supply.
Waterborne cryptosporidiosis, a pathogen
that affects the intestine, can enter water
supplies and quickly sicken people.
Inactivating Cryptosporidium was
cost-prohibitive until the Foundation
demonstrated that ultraviolet (UV) light
was capable of treating both this parasite
and Giardia in drinking water. We also
learned UV does not create significant levels
of disinfection by-products (DBPs), making
it a more attractive and affordable treatment
option for utilities.
These findings led to regulatory acceptance
of UV treatment systems and to widespread
application of UV by water utilities. Our
work also contributed to the USEPA’s
guidance on UV dosage levels, design,
and monitoring requirements. We are
now addressing challenges with UV
Foundation-sponsored research on
membranes showed they can be used cost-effectively to enhance conventional water
treatment, as an alternative to conventional
treatment, and for desalination, paving the
way for broad U.S. acceptance.