News Feature | November 20, 2017

Virginia Tech Granted $600,000 To Fight Lead Contamination

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga

After researchers from Virginia Tech pioneered efforts to test for and remediate lead contamination problems in Flint, MI, the school has received a considerable grant for undertaking similar efforts around the country.

“Virginia Tech will receive $600,000 in federal funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Lead Hazard and Office of Healthy Homes Technical Studies grant awards,” the Collegiate Times reported. “The university will use the funding to continue helping communities overcome water problems across the country.”

Specifically, Virginia Tech researchers will now be able to implement a project that evaluates and eventually could bring new water filters to communities dealing with high levels of lead and iron in drinking water. The plan is to provide filters to three communities in Louisiana and North Carolina.

“This grant will give them the tools to evaluate prevention methods and educate vulnerable communities in Virginia and across the country about how to protect themselves,” said U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner in a statement, per WBDJ. “After the incredible work Virginia Tech researchers did to uncover the Flint water crisis, we are certain this funding is in the right hands.”

The project, spearheaded by Kelsey Pieper, a postdoctoral fellow, will take place in three phases. Phase one will see the research team investigate different water conditions and how filters would function. Phase two involves the research team working with partners within the communities to install filters in homes and confirm functionality and water quality. During the third phase, the researchers will attempt to understand how the communities view their filters so that they can develop the proper outreach materials.

“We are really fortunate that we get to work with amazing community partners,” Pieper said, per Collegiate Times. “This is really a multicomponent project, and we are just really fortunate to have amazing collaborators on the team.”

For similar stories visit Water Online’s Drinking Water Contaminant Removal Solutions Center.