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Grants Announced for Contaminant Research

CHAPEL HILL — The North Carolina Policy Collaboratory announced Monday $430,000 in grants for three research projects to address emerging contaminants in North Carolina, including GenX, a potentially toxic industrial compound that has been detected in the Cape Fear River.

The grants are to support the following projects:

  • Evaluate emerging contaminants in private wells in North Carolina. The $300,000 grant will build on an existing study funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and led by Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson, associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering at UNC Gillings School of Public Health. Researchers will test the performance of household water filters in removing lead, microbial contaminants, GenX and other perfluoroalkyl compounds. Gibson’s team will also conduct a cost-benefit analysis of interventions for private wells contaminated with lead, GenX and other contaminants.
  • Develop an easy-to-read, qualitative paper test that would indicate if GenX might be present in the water and if additional analysis is necessary. The $50,000 grant will go to a project led by Matthew Lockett, assistant professor, and Marcey Waters, Glen H. Elder Jr. Distinguished Professor, in the chemistry department in UNC-Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences. This project is a partnership between the Collaboratory and the UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility.
  • Prioritize research and identify ways to address data and monitoring needs for detection of contaminants across the state. The $80,000 project will be carried out by a statewide consortium of university researchers organized by the Collaboratory who are working to identify completed, ongoing and planned research projects on emerging contaminants, including GenX, in North Carolina. The Collaboratory research team will be co-led by Gibson and Detlef Knappe, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at North Carolina State University, and is comprised of faculty members from East Carolina University, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Charlotte, University of North Carolina Wilmington and Duke University.

The North Carolina General Assembly created the Collaboratory in 2016 by to make UNC’s policy and research expertise available for use by state and local government. The Collaboratory facilitates and funds research related to the environmental and economic components of natural resource management and new technologies for habitat, environmental and water quality improvement.

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The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.