EPA has awarded six university research grants totaling $4.8 million for research on drinking water safety and techniques to reduce risks to America's public water systems. The grants were awarded through EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program for research in environmental science and engineering, which employs a competitive solicitation process and independent peer review process.

Grant recipients at the University of Kentucky will work on an early warning tool for surface water treatment plants to detect unsafe levels of bacteria. Scientists at the Lovelace Clinic Foundation in Albuquerque, N. M., will research the health risks associated with a type of water filtration called bank filtration. At Emory University, 900 southeastern households will be examined for a possible relationship between the risks of gastrointestinal illness and conventionally treated ground water. In separate grants, the University of Virginia and University of Kentucky both will investigate whether high concentrations of aluminum in drinking water are a concern to public health. Washington State Department of Health will look at an area with high nitrate waters to investigate a possible relationship between "blue baby" syndrome and the chemicals that form methemoglobin, a suspected cause of this disease.