New Jersey Institute of Technology and American Water Works Association Form New Research Center to Improve Drinking Water

NEWARK, Feb. 18--The New Jersey Institute of Technology, along with the American Water Works Association, recently founded the New Jersey Applied Water Research Center, which will unite industry, government and academia in a common effort to research and improve the state's drinking water.

The center will be operated jointly by the Otto H. York Center for Environmental Engineering and Science at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and the New Jersey Section of the American Water Works Association.

Researchers from NJIT and the Water Works Association, a non-profit group dedicated to providing the state with safe drinking water, signed a memorandum of agreement on Wednesday, Feb. 14, establishing the Applied Water Research Center.

"The center will have an immediate impact on the state's water infrastructure and will fill in the gaps that national research programs have not addressed," says Taha Marhaba, Ph.D., an associate professor of environmental engineering at NJIT and co-director of the center. "The water utilities, the regulatory agencies, the consultants and the universities will now - because of the center - be able to work together on applied water research."

Researchers will also work to assure that the region's water supply is safe from bio-terrorist attacks. They will work on a monitoring system that can quickly identify biological agents deposited in the water infrastructure, Marhaba says.

The center will also research ways to combat drought - a current problem given this winter's low rainfall. Another issue the center will address is how to meet newly proposed drinking water regulations and standards, which, if passed, will be more stringent than current ones.

Other aims of the center include encouraging state utilities and universities to conduct drinking water research; providing research ideas on water supply to the Office of Science and Research of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; monitoring research to assure that drinking water issues are being addressed and establishing a public service center that will inform residents about research on water supply.

Kevin Dixon, chair of New Jersey Section of the American Water Works Association, says the center will not only allow researchers to better understand the science of water, but since American Water Works represents the water utility firms, also lead to better service to residents.

"The center will have a trickle down effect," Dixon says. "It will help us to produce water more economically and efficiently, which is good for the residents."


NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar astrophysics. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as a "perennially most wired" university.

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