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Water Research Funded

May 01, 2006

In collaboration with principal investigator William J. Cooper of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW), McKim & Creed is helping advance state-of-the-art treatment technologies for water through a WateReuse Foundation project. Participating on the research team are McKim & Creed staff members Kirk Cole, Ph.D., P.E., senior project manager in Virginia Beach, Tim Baldwin, P.E., Director of Total Water Management, and Bob Rubin, Ph.D.

In the spring of 2006, the engineering and surveying firm of McKim & Creed entered into research collaboration with UNCW. The collaboration includes the study of advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) as a means for treating waters containing endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The results gained from this research will advance the treatment of water in the environment and will significantly contribute to the scientific knowledge base required for application of these technologies.

The endocrine system is a complex collection of glands that produce hormones, or “chemical messengers,” which are transmitted through the bloodstream to regulate and control various organs and functions. An endocrine disruptor is a synthetic chemical that, when absorbed into the body, can alter normal hormone levels, impact the natural production of hormones, or alter the way these hormones travel through the body – with resulting interference to hormone-controlled functions.

Well-known EDCs include organochlorine pesticides, PCBs and dioxins, but they can also be found in seemingly harmless or helpful products such as antibiotics, analgesics, antiseptics and pharmaceuticals. Exposure can be through direct contact or consumption of contaminated water, food, or air. The U.S. EPA identified EDC research as one of its six major initiatives.

The purpose of the research effort is to investigate those AOP processes that generate the reactive radicals needed to destroy these EDCs as a contaminant organic chemical in water. This WateReuse Foundation Grant study includes laboratory work scheduled for the summer of 2006 at the USDOE Radiation Laboratory facility on the campus of Notre Dame, and an array of scientific talent and technological resources from the University of California Long Beach, Southern Nevada Water Authority, Indiana University Northwest, and Haley and Aldrich of New York.

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