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EPA scientists to work with Egyptian counterparts on improving water quality

Environmental Protection Agency scientists have signed an agreement with counterparts in Egypt to share research and training materials to help both agencies protect human health from microbiological contamination in drinking water.

The Statement of Intent, a non-binding agreement, states that EPA and the Reference Laboratory for Drinking Water in Egypt’s Holding Company for Water and Wastewater intend to exchange information on monitoring drinking water quality; including best practices, technology, quality assurance and control, and laboratory certification.

The document also states the agencies, which share a common mission of reducing the risks of waterborne disease, will collaborate on creating training programs, workshops, symposia, and site visits to help strengthen laboratory skills and establish research partnerships.

"Both agencies intend to exchange information on managing contaminants in drinking water that pose a threat to human health," said Shay Fout, an EPA microbiologist who helped spearhead the effort. He said the two agencies will also work together to develop new approaches and tools for characterizing and restoring impaired water bodies.

Fout worked with EPA scientist Mark Rodgers and EPA’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs on the U.S. side of the agreement, while Kareem Farouk Muhammed Ismail spearheaded the effort from the Egyptian side.

Egypt’s hot, dry climate, and the high population density in Cairo, holds interest for EPA scientists, who want to know how well existing microbiological monitoring and decontamination methods perform under the more extreme conditions that could arise in parts of the United States due to global climate change.

The Statement of Intent was signed by Mohamed Ibrahim, general manager of the Reference Laboratory for Drinking Water, Thomas Speth, acting director of EPA’s Water Supply & Water Resources Division, and Jay Garland, director of EPA’s Microbiological and Chemical Exposure Assessment Research Division.

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