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This Week in EPA Science

2014 October 10

By Kacey Fitzpatrick

Research recap graphic identifier, a microscope with the words "research recap" around it in a circleHappy Friday! Like most people, I love Fridays—and not just because that’s when Research Recap is posted. This Friday is especially happy because it’s a long weekend which means an extra day to relax and recharge. Did you know that mental breaks actually increase productivity and encourage creativity?

Before you head out for the long weekend and give your mind a much needed break, check out this quick recap of the latest news in Agency research.

  • Usability Testing, the Report on the Environment, and My Time at EPA
    Taylor Katz spent his summer interning at EPA contributing to the Agency’s Report on the Environment. The Report is a compilation of information on the best available indicators of national conditions and trends in air, water, land, human heath, ecological systems, and sustainability. Read more.
  • Happy Cities, Happy People
    The 2014 EcoDistricts Summit took place in Washington DC. The three-day conference consisted of a variety of themes like collaboration, health, innovation, technology, sharing, green building and digital tools. Diane Simunek, a Student Contractor with EPA, was able to attend and share her experience. Read more.
  • EPA Awards $4 Million Grant for Research of Drinking Water Purification
    In early September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency granted $4 million to the University of Colorado, Boulder to establish a national center to improve drinking water treatment facilities for small towns and rural communities. Known as DeRISK, or Design of Risk Reducing, Innovative Implementable Small System Knowledge Center, this new center will develop sustainable methods to reduce water contaminants. Read more.
  • Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) Wiki
    The Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) Wiki has been released is now open to the public. It is important to understand and map AOPs in order to incorporate toxicological data into chemical risk assessments and regulatory decision-making. The goal was to create an easy-to-use tool that will stimulate, capture, and use crowd-sourced knowledge from the scientific community. Read more.

If you have any comments or questions about what I share or about the week’s events, please submit them below in the comments section!

About the Author: Student contractor and writer Kacey Fitzpatrick is a frequent contributor to “It All Starts with Science.”

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Happy Cities, Happy People

2014 October 7

By Diane Simunek

Have you ever wondered what makes you happy? Is it the warm cup of coffee you enjoy in the morning or the feeling of coming home after a hard day’s work? Maybe it’s riding a bike around your neighborhood or watching your kids joyfully run around a playground. There’s no easy way to pinpoint what exactly makes you happy, but understanding the many complexities of what does is exactly what Charles Montgomery aims to do. Montgomery is the author of the award-winning book, Happy City, and he was also one of the keynote speakers at the EcoDistricts Summit that I was recently fortunate enough to attend.

In the spirit of creating happier and more sustainable cities, Montgomery discussed his research as exploring the intersections of urban design and the science of happiness, to create a new vision for future cities. His opening remarks set the tone for the summit ahead.

During our "urban lab" field trip.

During our “urban lab” field trip.

The three-day conference consisted of a variety of approaches for sharing information amongst the diverse attendees. I attended educational seminars, discussion groups, and a research forum. I met urban planners, lawyers, government officials, scientist, and students, all working toward a similar cause. I even went on a field trip that used DC as an “urban lab” where we saw the Linnean Park urban stream restoration project, visited the Sidwell Friends “Green” Middle School, and explored the RiverSmart Washington stormwater reduction project. The energy was invigorating and the conversations never ended.

What struck me most was the quantity of overlapping and complementary efforts being made, and hearing about the successes already achieved. When looking at these projects from start to completion, it’s clear that “It All Starts with Science.”

EPA research is only the beginning of the process, and it is sometimes easy to lose sight of how much positive impact the tools that we develop have down the road. For example, EPA researchers attending the summit demonstrated the EnviroAtlas, a user-friendly mapping tool. The number of requests for collaboration afterwards was astonishing. Research is important and EPA is working hard to provide it for our communities.

The summit ended with keynote speaker Jason Roberts, co-creator of The Better Block. He said “stop cheerleading, start championing” and although cheerleading is great, I think we can all agree doing is even better. Just like EPA is doing research, I encourage everyone to do their part, working towards a happier and more sustainable society. You can even start thinking about what makes you happy during your next cup of coffee.

About the Author: Diane Simunek is a Student Contractor with EPA’s Science Communications Team.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Usability Testing, the Report on the Environment, and My Time at EPA

2014 October 6

By Taylor Katz

As a student of Environmental Health at George Washington University, I was excited to be asked to contribute to the Agency’s Report on the Environment (ROE). The Report is a compilation of information on the best available indicators of national conditions and trends in air, water, land, human heath, ecological systems, and sustainability.

What makes the 2014 edition so unique from past versions, is that the 2014 Report on the Environment is entirely online. Through interactive graphs, maps, and charts, the website presents trends and measurements of physical and biological conditions within clearly defined geographic areas. Focal points are the Report’s six theme areas: Air, Water, Land, Human Exposure and Health, Ecological Condition, and Sustainability. It’s a hotspot for all things environmental and ecological health related.

EPA's Report on the Environment presents interactive maps and other graphics.

EPA’s Report on the Environment presents interactive maps and other graphics.

Because the Report can be a valuable resource for scientists, decisions-makers, and the public, the team that produced it wanted to ensure that users can find the exact information they want, when they need it.  That’s where I come in.

I was asked to help improve the Report on the Environment website by conducting usability tests with EPA employees. To do this, we created two tests—one focused on the site’s indicators, and the other on navigating the site.

Five EPA employees participated in each test, and we gave each eight tasks to perform. For example, task one was: “your supervisor has assigned you to put together some information for a report about mercury. To start, you want to know the mercury levels in the U.S. population. Where would you look for this information?” As participants verbally communicated how they navigated through the site, we observed which tasks participants commonly struggled to complete. We recorded the results of each participant, which will ultimately help the team ensure the website is the best it can be.

Looking back on my summer, usability testing gave me more than just knowledge regarding the Report on the Environment. By meeting different EPA employees from different backgrounds, I gained an appreciation for the fact that everyone at the Agency has a core value of improving the environment and human health.

Working here allowed me to better understand the ins and outs of what really goes on at the EPA. I was able to familiarize myself with different offices, while also witnessing the real life applications of information that I study in textbooks and attend lectures on. This work helped me realize that regardless of one’s research or specialization, it takes the whole organization to produce a great product.

About the Author: Taylor Katz is currently a student at George Washington University and was a summer intern at EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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This Week in EPA Science

2014 October 3

By Kacey Fitzpatrick

Research recap graphic identifier, a microscope with the words "research recap" around it in a circleIt’s the first week of October which happens to be my favorite month of the year. I love October, and fall in general, because the crisp weather and leaves changing color make it the best time of year to be outside. Visiting an orchard, hiking a trail, or just taking a nice evening stroll through the neighborhood – these activities make October a great time to appreciate the environment.

It’s been a good week for EPA science, too. So, if you’re not outside enjoying the change of seasons, check out the latest news about Agency research.

  • Globally Linking Scientific Knowledge through the Adverse Outcome Pathways Wiki
    EPA and partners released the online Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) Wiki—an interactive, virtual encyclopedia for the development and evaluation of adverse outcome pathways. It is important to understand and map these pathways in order to incorporate toxicological data into chemical risk assessments and support decisions made to advance chemical safety. Read more.
  • EPA Chemical Safety Data Summit Held In Research Triangle Park, NC
    EPA’s Chemical Safety Data Summit: Exploring How to Use ToxCast Data was held September 29th and 30th. The summit brought together a wide range of stakeholders to discuss past, present, and future work using the massive amounts of new chemical safety data flowing from new, innovative chemical screening methods such as high-throughput screening technologies. Participants shared techniques and ideas on how to use the emerging wealth of data to inform chemical policy and regulatory decisions. More than 200 stakeholders participated in person and 80 stakeholders tuned in remotely via online webinar. Read more.
  • Going to the Dogs: EPA Researchers Use Dog Waste to Explore New Ways to Monitor Water Quality
    Dog feces left on the ground can wash into waterways, sometimes carrying bacteria that can make people sick. A team of EPA researchers is developing a genetic test to advance new, high-tech and efficient ways to monitor water quality, and figure out how much uncollected dog waste  might be contributing to related health concerns. Read more.
  • EPA’s Exposure Toolbox Update: Check Out the New Features
    EPA-Expo-Box is a one-stop shop risk assessment resource for risk assessors, researchers, public health officials, and others. Originally released in November, 2013 it has been recently updated to enhance the search feature, include additional tools, and provide a form for users to suggest additional tools they would like in the toolbox. Read more.
  • Post Doc Recruitment
    Did you recently earn your doctoral degree? Do you find EPA research interesting? If so, be sure to check out the post-doctoral research opportunities now open with the Office of Research and Development! More than 30 post-doctoral positions are open for scientists and engineers who want to protect the environment and public health. The program offers appointments of up to four years, state-of-the-art facilities, world-class scientific expertise, locations throughout the United States, travel to professional scientific meetings, and active trainee organizations. Read more.

If you have any comments or questions about what I share or about the week’s events, please submit them below in the comments section!

About the Author: When not out enjoying the crisp, cool October air, student contractor Kacey Fitzpatrick writes about EPA science for the Agency’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Globally Linking Scientific Knowledge through the Adverse Outcome Pathways Wiki

2014 September 29

By Steve Edwards, Ph.D.

I am thrilled to announce that on September 25th, we and our partners released the online Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) Wiki—an interactive, virtual encyclopedia for the development and evaluation of adverse outcome pathways.

An AOP is a conceptual framework that shows what is known about the “pathways,” or links between a chemical and how it: interacts with a biological process, initiates direct changes on a molecular level, and leads to an environmental and human health risk, or “adverse outcome.”

It is important for us to understand and map AOPs in order to incorporate toxicological data into chemical risk assessments and regulatory decision-making.

Our goal for the AOP Wiki was to create an easy-to-use tool that will stimulate, capture, and use crowd-sourced knowledge from the scientific community. Using the Wiki’s user-friendly interface and standardization guidance, we have created a tool to allow scientists from all industries and disciplines to develop, evaluate, and use adverse outcome pathways.

All AOPs within the wiki are constructed using guidance from two reports of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Extended Advisory Group on Molecular Screening and Toxicogenomics (Guidance on Developing and Assessing Adverse Outcome Pathways and the AOP Developers’ User Handbook). What I find particularly helpful about the guidance and wiki design is that it provides a user-friendly experience with consistent terminology and useful widgets for navigation and development. This way AOP developers and other users without extensive experience with Wiki language can take full advantage of the available information.

AOP Knowledge Base

AOP Knowledge Base

Our Wiki is the first publicly released module of the larger AOP Knowledge Base (AOP KB).  This international collaboration will provide a consolidated, comprehensive knowledge base on how chemicals can induce adverse effects. Through quality user engagement, we want the knowledge base to evolve and become the focal point for AOP development and dissemination. Our next step is to integrate the wiki with the other AOP KB modules in development:

  • AOP Xplorer
    A graphic computer module that will allow scientists worldwide to create graphics that highlight how several different AOPs might interconnect and adversely affect the same biological system. (Expected release later this year.)
  • Intermediate Effects Database 
    Will host chemical-related data derived from non-traditional methods.
  • Effectopedia
    Will bring together scientists and studies from different disciplines to share data about different species and biological organization, chemical exposure routes and durations, and much more.

With these tools, we are taking strides toward connectingthe sequence of events that unfold after chemical interaction sparks changes on the molecular level of a biological system, and cascades on until an adverse health outcome. The Advanced Outcome Pathway Wiki is a collaborative effort of the EPA, the OECD, the international scientific community, the European Joint Research Center, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. For more information on this project, please see our fact sheet.

About the Author: EPA systems biologist Stephen Edwards is developing a framework to improve the scientific underpinnings of the Agency’s human and ecological risk assessments. He serves as a senior Agency advisor on the development of predictive toxicology models of disease using genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

This Week in EPA Science

2014 September 26

By Kacey Fitzpatrick

Research recap graphic identifier, a microscope with the words "research recap" around it in a circleWith more than 300,000 people turning out for the People’s Climate March in New York City and leaders from around the world meeting for the United Nations Climate Summit, climate change has been big news this week.  It was also Climate Action Week at EPA, starting with Administrator Gina McCarthy’s message: Climate Week – It’s Time For Action.

As with so many other environmental challenges, the first steps toward taking meaningful action all start with science. Research lays the foundation for understanding our impact on the environment, and finding sustainable solutions for adapting to, and reducing the impact from, a changing climate.

This week’s Research Recap highlights some of the work that EPA researchers have done to support climate action.

  • Preparing to “Move:” EPA Research Supports Taking Action on Climate Change
    EPA researcher Dr. Andy Miller is among the many people studying how climate change is affecting our environment. EPA scientists work behind the scenes to provide the knowledge people need to prepare for climate change and its impacts, so communities will have the best information possible to take action as they prepare their move into the future. Read more.
  • EPA Science Matters – Climate Change Research Edition
    EPA’s Science Matters newsletter features a collection of stories on how EPA researchers and their partners are supporting both the Agency and President Obama to take action on climate change. Our scientists and engineers are providing the science that decision makers, communities, and individuals need for developing strategies and taking action to protect public health and the environment. Read more.

 

And here’s some more EPA research that has been highlighted this week.

 

  • THE PATH(FINDER) FORWARD
    EPA’s innovation team is tapping the creativity of agency employees through Pathfinder Innovation Projects which provide space for bold ideas that have the potential for transformational scientific change. The program is an internal competition that provides seed funding and time for EPA Office of Research and Development scientists to pursue high-risk, high-reward research. Read more.
  •  Reigning in the Rain with Satellite and Radar
    Accurate rain totals are the basis of watershed modeling for evaluating the water cycle. EPA scientists were involved in a study aimed at providing options for watershed modelers. With options of using land-based or radar data, scientists will be able to conduct more accurate watershed assessments, providing important information for keeping our watersheds healthy. Read more.
  •  LIVE! from the Lake Guardian: Bringing science to the classroom
    A group of sixth graders from Charleston, IL took a virtual tour of the U.S. EPA vessel that was collecting samples in Lake Erie. Students and teachers watched as EPA researcher Beth Hinchey Malloy talked about living and working on a boat and showed them around. Eight classes across the Great Lakes region got a first-hand look at the research vessel this week and video chats with EPA scientists will continue throughout the school year. Read more.


If you have any comments or questions about what I share or about the week’s events, please submit them below in the comments section!

About the Author: Student contractor and writer Kacey Fitzpatrick is a frequent contributor to “It All Starts with Science.”

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Reigning in the Rain with Satellite and Radar

2014 September 25

By Marguerite Huber

When it rains, it pours!background_water_puddle

Actually, that phrase is not necessarily true. A rain shower can consist of just drizzle, a steady rain, a downpour, or even all three! Either way, accurate rain totals are the basis of watershed modeling for evaluating the water cycle.

Meteorological data (precipitation, temperature, humidity, etc.) required for watershed assessments have traditionally come from land-based weather gauge stations. They collect weather data from all over the country. Unfortunately, not all watersheds have meteorological stations. Some watersheds have too few, are too far away, or aren’t working properly to correctly represent precipitation totals or their distribution within the watershed. You can check the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s website to see how many weather gauge stations are in your watershed!

For accuracy, the best options for watershed modeling applications in the U.S. are rain gauges and weather radar data, but precipitation amounts can vary throughout the watershed. Where land-based stations are lacking, remote sensing and radar satellite data are increasingly being used to augment data in space and time.

EPA scientists were involved in a study aimed at providing options for watershed modelers. They did this by comparing precipitation data from radar-based stations to data from ground-based stations to see the effectiveness of using either one for watershed modeling, especially at locations where gauge stations were insufficient.

Because ground-based gauges are the norm, the scientists evaluated the efficacy of using radar or gauge precipitation data to support watershed modeling.

Researchers evaluated two areas in Wisconsin using hourly precipitation data from 2002-2011: the Manitowoc River Basin and Milwaukee area, which are approximately 84 miles apart.

National Climatic Data Center precipitation data from gauges on the ground were compared to two different types of satellite and radar data: North American Land Data Assimilation System and NEXt generation RADar Multi sensor Precipitation Estimates. Both were used to evaluate the reliability of radar and gauge precipitation data.

Results showed gauge and radar data at Milwaukee to be similar, while the Manitowoc River Basin had large differences in precipitation occurrence and totals, which strongly suggest radar data as being more reliable.The gauged precipitation at Manitowoc River Basin also poorly correlated with radar data, which can detect more frequent precipitation, drizzle, and small storms.

In the end, the researchers concluded that the use of radar precipitation data can be an acceptable alternative to the gauged data in Manitowoc River Basin. The results also show benefits from automating the collection process of radar data as an additional option in watershed modeling.

With options of using land-based or radar data, scientists will be able to conduct more accurate watershed assessments, providing important information for keeping our watersheds healthy.

About the Author: Marguerite Huber is a Student Contractor with EPA’s Science Communications Team

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Preparing to “Move:” EPA Research Supports Taking Action on Climate Change

2014 September 23

By Andy Miller, Ph.D.

Large crowd of climate change marchers in New York CIty

Climate change march in New York City, September 21, 2014.

The issue of climate change is generating a lot of headlines again this week. The “People’s Climate March” in New York City, followed by the Climate Summit at the United Nations are sparking renewed interest in “taking action on climate change,” echoing the White House’s Climate Action Plan that President Obama released last summer.  To lend our voices to the chorus, it’s also Climate Action Week here at EPA.

As a researcher working on climate change, I’m hopeful that such events, coupled with people’s own personal experiences, mean we are moving beyond the old “discussions” about climate change that have played out in the media by what seem to be a gang of professional arguers.

More and more people are experiencing higher temperatures, heavier downpours, rising sea levels, longer droughts, and bigger wildfires—all impacts that scientists have expected as the climate changes.  Even though we can’t say for certain that any one of these is caused by climate change (see my previous post, What Does Climate Change Have to do with Weather…and Baseball?), taken together they provide increasingly strong evidence that the climate is changing and we need to prepare. And people are beginning to respond in meaningful ways to the reality of climate change.

So how do we know how to prepare?  A good analogy to me is my recent move across the country. The basic preparation steps are similar: I looked for information about our new location, talked with experts who move people for a living, and made plans.  When I started the actual process, I packed things one or two at a time, thinking about what I had to pack last and unpack first.  It’s the same with preparing for climate change.  We look for information and talk with experts, and then we make plans.  We take actions one at a time, keeping in mind how those actions will affect other actions and don’t try to do everything at once.

Newspapers with articles and photographs of climate change march in New York City.

Taking action on climate change is big news.

EPA’s researchers are among the many people studying how climate change is affecting our environment to provide information to those who are making decisions.  We study how rivers and coasts will change, and provide that information to towns, cities, states, and tribes so they can decide how they want to prepare for those changes and ensure their local communities will be resilient and healthy.  EPA is doing research so we will continue to have healthy air as summers get hotter and drier.  And we are working to develop the information needed by local water treatment facilities to deal with extreme rainfall events, so that our drinking water stays clean.

Knowledge, plans, and informed actions—these are at the heart of Climate Action Week.  EPA science works behind the scenes to provide the knowledge people need to prepare for climate change and its impacts, so communities will have the best information possible to take action as they prepare their move into the new conditions brought on by our changing climate.

About the Author: Andy Miller is the Associate Director for Climate in EPA’s Air, Climate, and Energy Research Program that conducts research to assess the impacts of a changing climate and develop the scientific information and tools to act on climate change.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

THE PATH(FINDER) FORWARD

2014 September 22

Crossposted from “GovLoop”

Student contractor and frequent “It All Starts with Science” contributor Dustin Renwick was selected as a featured blogger on GovLoop, an online community of government workers and those interested in public service. Below is his post about EPA’s “Pathfinder Innovation Projects” that was originally posted as part of that series. 

By Dustin Renwick

 

Graphic of satellite and text, "Wouldn't it be amazing if we could measure water quality without getting in a boat?

 

 

What makes you yell with excitement?

Roger Hanlon, a marine biologist, captured video of an octopus in camouflage mode. Hanlon hit the surface screaming. “They thought I was having a dive accident,” he says in the video. “It was a eureka moment.”

We like eureka moments on the innovation team, and we look for ways to increase the chances those moments happen more often. Consider it engineered serendipity.

Pathfinder Innovation Projects (we call them PIPs) provide space for bold ideas that have the potential for transformational scientific change. PIPs tap the creativity of agency employees.

The PIPs program is an internal competition that provides seed funding and time for EPA Office of Research and Development scientists to pursue high-risk, high-reward research. Any scientist or post-doc can submit an innovative idea, and external panels of experts help us spot the proposals that have the most potential.

We challenge our researchers to consider the question: “Wouldn’t it be amazing if EPA could … ?”

EPA has answered with almost 300 proposals in four years.

In the program’s first three years, we’ve had scientists measure coastal water quality from space, test glowing tadpoles that indicate endocrine disruptors in water, and build systems to better mimic human lungs for airborne chemical toxicity screens.

And we just announced the awardees for the fourth year.

PIPs allow us to examine and nurture the pitches that challenge current thinking or could leapfrog the current science in that field if successful. At a more general level, the program demonstrates the power of acknowledging that good ideas with broad impact can come from anyone in an organization.

  • Has your office tried a program to spark innovation internally?
  • What insights have you gained from these kinds of programs?

About the Author: Student contractor Dustin Renwick is a member of EPA’s Innovation Team in the Office of Research and Development. He is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program featuring posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!).

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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This Week in EPA Science

2014 September 19

By Kacey Fitzpatrick

Research recap graphic identifier, a microscope with the words "research recap" around it in a circleFor most of the U.S., access to clean drinking water is as easy as turning on the faucet. In fact, a lot of hard work has gone into making sure our waterways are healthy and the water we drink is safe. Forty years ago, Congress passed Safe Drinking Water Act and since then EPA has contributed an incredibly vast amount of research to protecting human health by safeguarding the nation’s public drinking water supply—you might say it’s an ocean’s worth.

We and others highlighted a lot of water-related EPA research this past week. And an EPA-grantee was named a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” awardee! Below is this week’s “EPA research recap.”

  • Prescription for Trouble? Studying Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater.
    Due to human excretion and people flushing unused pills, pharmaceuticals can end up in the wastewater stream, presenting a challenge to the nation’s wastewater treatment plants. EPA researchers are studying pharmaceuticals in wastewater to help protect the nation’s waterways. Researchers designed a model to estimate potential concentrations of active pharmaceuticals in treated wastewater. Read more.
  • Tri, Tri, Tri Again for Clean Water
    Recently, the Washington DC area experienced storms and heavy rainfall that caused a combined sewer overflow and sent a mixture of sewage and stormwater into the Potomac River. This caused the swim portion of the Nation’s Triathlon to be canceled due to unsafe water quality. EPA works to promote green infrastructure practices to help minimize and prevent stormwater events that can threaten public health, all while protecting the quality of rivers, streams, and lakes. Read more.
  • EPA engineer led effort to reduce wastewater pollution along the Arizona-Mexican border
    Raw and partially treated sewage has flowed persistently for years across the border from Nogales, Mexico into neighboring Nogales, Arizona. Through a decade of hard work, Thomas Konner, an EPA engineer, was instrumental in leading the U.S. effort to upgrade the wastewater infrastructure along the border and greatly improve the water quality and the environment. Read more.
  • Green Island and the Hyporheic Zone: Why Restoration matters
    Large river floodplains present diverse benefits to communities, yet management strategies often fail to consider the broad suite of ecosystem services provided by these systems. EPA is evaluating the benefits associated with restoring large river floodplains, specifically levee setback and revetment removal. This effort will provide scientific support for community-based environmental decision making and support restoration efforts. Read more.
  • Detection of Silver Nanoparticles in Vadose Zone Environments
    Use of nanoparticles is quickly increasing within the global marketplace as a result of their beneficial use in science, medicine, engineering and technology.However, very little is known about the effects that the increased and widespread use could have on the environment. EPA and Oklahoma State University have partnered to research and determine the effects. Read more.
  • EPA Grantee Tami Bond Named 2014 MacArthur Fellow
    The University of Illinois professor did a comprehensive study of how human-produced soot (black carbon) is affecting the atmosphere, illuminating how it is one of the leading contributors to climate change and standardizing how researchers measure and describe it. Bond received her first EPA “Science to Achieve Results” (STAR) grant in 2003, and currently has two other projects supported by the program. Read more.

Looking forward, next week is “Climate Action Week” and we’ll be featuring how EPA researchers are working to support taking action on climate change.

If you have any comments or questions about what I share or about the week’s events, please submit them below in the comments section!

About the Author: Writer Kacey Fitzpatrick is a member of the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development as a student contractor.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.