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EPA awards Arizona State University almost $60,000 for water quality improvement project

$1.3 million awarded nationwide to restore urban waters, revitalize communities

Contact Information: 
Margot Perez-Sullivan (

PHOENIX — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $1.3 million to 22 organizations in 18 states to help protect and restore urban waters, and to support community revitalization. Of that funding, Arizona State University will receive $58,227 to work with students and Girl Scouts troops on ways to improve water quality in their communities.

“It is important to continue educating the next generation on the importance of protecting our local waterways,” said Tomás Torres, EPA’s Water Division Director for the Pacific Southwest. “Today’s grants will help protect urban waters and the health of the communities they serve.” 

Many urban waterways have been polluted for years by sewage, runoff from city streets, and contamination from abandoned industrial facilities. Healthy and accessible urban waters can enhance economic, educational, recreational, and social opportunities in surrounding communities. This year’s Urban Waters grantees will engage residents in stormwater management and reducing pollution in waterways. To accomplish these goals, many projects will test rivers, streams and lakes for pollutants,  address trash in waterways, and prepare the next generation of environmental stewards for careers in the green economy.

ASU’s project combines academic research with community-based training to address real-life water quality and public health challenges in the Phoenix-metro area. Students from ASU, K-12 students from the Phoenix Zoo’s ZooTeen Conservation Team, and two Girl Scouts troops, will monitor for contaminants in water and fish. Participants will use the results to develop recommendations for solutions to reduce urban runoff and pollution, and educational materials. The water quality results, educational materials, and recommendations will be provided to the Arizona Game and Fish Department to inform its efforts to reduce urban runoff and improve aquatic resource management. Through this unique and innovative project, student groups will increased their exposure to academic and career opportunities in water quality, environmental chemistry, toxicology, public health and conservation biology.

Other grants in EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region include:

Heal the Bay in California received $59,998 to partner with Los Angeles Trade Technical College and local high schools to monitor bacterial water pollution in the LA River, and to make recommendations to local governments and stakeholders for improving water quality and protecting public health.

Constitutional Rights Foundation in California received $59,673 to, in partnership with Los Angeles Waterkeeper and UCLA, to expand its teaching curriculum for local undeserved high school students on community stormwater assessments to include enhanced STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, and will conduct community environmental projects.

The Urban Waters Small Grants are competed and awarded every two years. Since its inception in 2012, the program has awarded approximately $6.6 million in Urban Waters Small Grants to 114 organizations across the country, with individual award amounts of up to $60,000.

To learn more about funded projects, visit /urbanwaters/urban-waters-small-grants 

Information on EPA’s Urban Waters program: /urbanwaters