Potential Future Research Projects

Tap into a stream of possibilities!


This is an exciting time for the Water Quality Research Foundation, and we are pleased to share it with you. As we look to the future of our organization, we are focused on strengthening relations with the water quality industry through an enhanced program of providing more timely and effective support for research projects that will directly impact WQA members as well as the public at large.  Through our efforts to establish an ongoing and expanded dialogue between WQA and WQRF stakeholders to promote meaningful education and research to the industry and the consuming public, identification of key research projects is top of mind.

Through personal interviews and surveys conducted earlier in 2014, approximately 300 industry leaders and WQA members identified specific “areas of interest” for research. Final Barrier Treatment and Regulatory Affairs were perceived as the most critical for research activity, with Emerging Contaminants and International Affairs being supported in more specific ways, as well. Respondents also identified additional areas where they would like to see research conducted, and these are consumer awareness/perceptions and sustainability.

Below you will find a preliminary list of possible research topics in these categories that were identified over the last two years of feedback from key opinion leaders of the water quality industry. This list is a starting point as we seek to explore all possibilities with our constituents. We look forward to working with you further to enhance what is currently on our research agenda and to define additional research priorities for the advancement and sustainability of the water quality industry.

 

Final Barrier

 

  1. Investigate point of use and whole house devices as a means for sustainable treatment to create more opportunities for industry professionals to provide better quality water to more people.

  2. Develop reports to support industry professionals showing why consumers on public water supplies may need water treatment. Investigating the reasons behind and frequency of boil orders is an example of a study that would support this.

  3. Create opportunities and reduce limitations for WQA members to become involved with USEPA compliance by:
    1. Compiling an arsenal of case studies to educate public water suppliers, regulators, etc., about successful POU/POE applications already in existence for both EPA and rural applications.
    2. Investigating the use of telemetry devices on products connected to automated metering infrastructure (AMI) to assist remote monitoring and decrease burdens of O&M of POU/POE.
    3. Investigating how to overcome accessibility burdens of POU/POE options. 

  4. Gathering nitrate occurrence information to assess whether current product performance standards are adequate or need revisions based on consistently higher levels (> 100 ppm) of nitrate being detected, in order to maintain tested and certified product offerings for nitrate reduction across private or publicly supplied waters in the US.


Emerging Contaminants


  1. Research to aid or support implementation of technologies to provide cost effective options for emerging contaminants.

  2. Identify technologies for contaminants on the unregulated contaminant monitoring rule (UCMR) list in advance of new regulation.

  3. Identify and qualify a uranium surrogate in order to develop a standard protocol for product certification as uranium detection continues to increase. 

  4. Review various means to support technology reviews and provide industry professionals with treatment options for emergency removal of contaminants like ones found in the West Virginia chemical spill. 

  5. Investigate opportunities in addressing increased Legionella occurrence across the US.


Regulatory Affairs

 

  1. Conduct research to support efforts to defeat ill-conceived codes and rules or promote technologies in highly regulated areas.

  2. Review opportunities present from water quality struggles related to hydraulic fracturing. 


International Affairs


  1. Provide independent research support for international growth and efforts of the water treatment industry.

  2. Support the World Health Organization in seeking funding and research relating to the potential health effects of secondary disinfectants such as hydrogen peroxide, silver, bromide, etc.

  3. Investigate projects to help answer the questions: Can we help standards harmonization? Can we reduce trade barriers to open up supply chain harmonization?


Consumer Awareness


  1. Increase consumer awareness of water treatment through educational and extension work, demonstrations, shows, symposia, expositions, publications and surveys.

  2. Survey the water quality needs and/or preferences (i.e. quantity, taste, feel, smell, etc) of consumers to provide feedback to industry members to help connect the right products and the right people for the right purpose (i.e. household, business, restaurant, etc).

  3. Provide industry members with evidence of consumer perceptions of softened water benefits by surveying a large population of consumers before and after common activities (i.e. hand washing, showering, wearing clothing, etc.) conducted using either hard water or softened water.


Sustainability


  1. Investigate ways to sustain the industry, help protect the environment and aid adoption of sustainable treatment options including reuse, reclamation and other technologies for agencies or localities.

  2. Assess the enhanced capabilities of industry products through the salt, water and electrical savings produced through advanced technologies under real-world residential conditions. Tested technologies may include:  twin-softeners, upflow brining, proportional brining, meter-initiated regeneration, hardness–front-initiated regeneration, hot-side-only softening, partial softening, high-efficiency resins and software prediction algorithms.

  3. Assess the capabilities of emerging technologies by conducting benchmarking programs. Potential outcomes of research surrounding this topic could include the validation, creation or amendment of industry standards as well as corresponding professional and consumer education.
    1. Example Study: Physical anti-scaling treatment devices. This program would benchmark against the IAPMO Z601 standard and measure the scale reduction effects inside residential water heaters (tank and tank-less). It would also measure the scale build-up and ease of removal from glass shower doors and coffee makers.

 

WQRF thanks you for your continued support and the shared enthusiasm to help us elevate the value of our organization, the water quality industry and consuming public. For more information, please contact Pauli Undesser at pundesser@wqa.org or Kari Pantol at kpantol@wqa.org.