The National Science Foundation has awarded $1.5 million to a team of researchers from the University of Notre Dame. The funding will expand a previous study of private water systems focusing on the identification of groundwater contaminants.
The original study centered on self-supplied water systems in Granger and the grant will expand the study to communities in Kosciusko County. The university says the study will have a specific focus on identifying nitrate, a contaminant that can cause low blood oxygen, which can lead to blue baby syndrome and increase the risk for certain cancers, birth defects and thyroid issues.
"Since private water systems, which often pull from groundwater, are not federally regulated, owners of these water systems are responsible for testing and treating their own systems," said Dong Wang, assistant professor of computer science and engineering and principal investigator. "For the previous phase of our research, the team utilized crowdsensing — a method of data collection that relies on people to gather information and report back — to analyze the nitrate contamination within private water systems and to develop a framework for reliable and timely detection of drinking water contamination in private water systems."
The expanded study will take place over the next three years. Notre Dame says Amber Mase, an evaluation specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will act as an external evaluator of the study.