To address the resulting health concerns, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a group of researchers at Virginia Tech a first-of-its-kind grant under the new Biocomplexity in the Environment program. This comprehensive project aims to evaluate the costly impacts of corrosion on water quality, drinking water tastes and odors, and home plumbing.
"To my knowledge, no one has funded research to directly protect the consumer's interest in these important issues," says Marc Edwards, professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE) at Virginia Tech. A nationally recognized expert on copper corrosion, Edwards has also received a Presidential Fellowship from the NSF for corrosion-based studies.
Members of the research team are: Andrea Dietrich, associate professor of CEE, G. V. Loganathan, associate professor of CEE, Susan Duncan, associate professor of food science and technology, Sharon Dwyer, health educator, and Daryl Bosch, professor of agriculture and applied economics.
Minimal progress has been made in understanding the chemical and biological factors contributing to corrosion of metal plumbing hardware. Diverse residential systems are particularly complicated to identify and restore. As a result, there is no rational basis for making decisions when problems are identified with potable infrastructures, Edwards says.
"At the forefront of concern for water utilities and consumers are the aesthetic qualities of water, such as taste, odor, and color. Aesthetic problems are the ones consumers notice and which create concern and fear about the potability of t
Contact: Marc Edwards