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  • Writer's pictureKristin Cooper

Viral Pathogen and Surrogate Approaches for Assessing Treatment Performance In Water Reuse

COVID-19 Update: EPA is providing flexibilities to applicants experiencing challenges related to COVID-19. Please see the Flexibilities Available to Organizations Impacted by COVID-19 clause in Section IV of EPA’s Solicitation Clauses.

Open Date: October 29, 2020

New Close Date: January 13, 2021

Background: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, announces the opening of the Viral Pathogen and Surrogate Approaches for Assessing Treatment Performance In Water Reuse Request for Applications (RFA).

The Water Environment Federation estimates that approximately 33 billion gallons of municipal wastewater are produced each day in the U.S. Of that volume, approximately 2.2 billion gallons per day are recovered and reused, leaving a major opportunity for reclamation and reuse. Municipal wastewater offers the potential to significantly increase the nation’s total available water resources. However, wastewater as a potential source water remains both a technical and economic challenge due to the potential variety of contaminants that can be present such as metals, salts, organic chemicals, nutrients, pathogens and emerging contaminants.

This funding opportunity aims to support research into the development of standardized approaches to identify, characterize, and validate suitable viral surrogates and enumeration methods for quantifying the potential human health risks posed by the concentrations of human enteric viral pathogens found in reclaimed wastewater. EPA is requesting new information on the concentrations of infectious viral pathogens relative to the concentrations of viral surrogates. EPA is also looking for data on the inactivation or removal of viral pathogens and surrogates needed to (1) establish and verify viral pathogen log-reduction values for individual unit treatment processes and through treatment trains, (2) inform monitoring, and (3) optimize treatment train performance.

Applications should address at least one of the following research areas:

  1. Viral Surrogates for Assessing Treatment Performance

  2. Identifying Quantitative Reductions of Viral Pathogens and Surrogates across Unit Treatment Processes and Full Treatment Trains for Water Reuse Applications

The STAR Program’s goal is to stimulate and support scientific and engineering research that advances EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. It is a competitive, peer-reviewed, extramural research program that provides access to the nation’s best scientists and engineers in academic and other nonprofit research institutions. STAR funds research on the environmental and public health effects of air quality, environmental changes, water quality and quantity, hazardous waste, toxic substances, and pesticides.

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