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2012 EPA Research Progress Report

Safe and Sustainable Water Resources

Across the United States, people are placing increased demands on the finite water resources that supply precious drinking water, support healthy aquatic ecosystems, and fill important societal and economic needs, including energy, agriculture and industrial production.

EPA’s Safe and Sustainable Water Resources research program provides the science and innovative technologies that the Agency—and the nation—need to maintain drinking water sources and systems, as well as to protect the chemical, physical and biological integrity of our waters.

EPA scientists and engineers, together with their research partners, are addressing 21st century challenges to water supplies and infrastructures by integrating research across social, environmental, and economic disciplines. Together they are working to provide lasting, sustainable solutions to those challenges.

Research Highlights

This section highlights a few of the research results EPA researchers and their partners achieved in 2012 to support safe and sustainable water resources.

Hydraulic Fracturing Study: Progress and Outreach

Hydraulic fracturing is a technique used to release natural gas and oil from underground reservoirs.


Bristol Bay, Alaska: Assessing Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems

Bristol Bay Watershed in southwestern Alaska supports the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world, is home to 25 federally recognized tribal governments, and contains large mineral resources.


Stemming the Tide of Invasive Marine Species

In 2012, EPA scientists finalized an Atlas of non-native marine and estuarine species for the North Pacific Ocean.


A Tool for Urban Storm Water Management

EPA researchers are developing tools and strategies to help city planners, managers, and others address storm water problems.


Tapping Green Infrastructure

The environmentally-friendly techniques of green infrastructure present sustainable options for reducing urban water problems and health risks.


Gliding Beneath the Surface

Low levels of dissolved oxygen in ocean environments have the potential to harm sea life and degrade the health of aquatic ecosystems.


Real-time Beach Monitoring

To improve beach water monitoring, EPA scientists developed the Virtual Beach modeling software.


Sediment Removal to Improve Water Quality

EPA scientists are researching the removal of legacy sediments as a cost-effective and sustainable means of reducing sediment and nutrient pollution in watersheds.


Partnering to Achieve "Net Zero"

EPA supports a United States Army sustainability initiative—called Net Zero—to reduce energy, water and waste from Army facilities.


Community-Based Chesapeake Bay Stormwater Management

In September 2012, STAR announced a $700,000 award to the University of Maryland to work with local communities to improve urban stormwater management in the Chesapeake Bay area.


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