Photo from www.midhudsoncsc.org
By Kayla Shults
Stony Brook University and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced Thursday the launch of the New York State Center for Clean Water Technology at Stony Brook. The center will be funded by $2 million from New York State along with Bloomberg Philanthropies, and will “lead an initiative to marshal the region’s public and private resources to develop and commercialize water quality restoration and protection technologies.”
One of the initial goals of the center is to develop technology that will be more effective in removing nitrogen from waste water. High amounts of nitrogen in water has been found as the cause of algal blooms, destruction of marine habitats, degradation of water quality and declines in key fin and shellfisheries.
“We have chemicals in water that no one ever tested for,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a panel yesterday at Stony Brook University. “And information is power and if we do this right we could literally save lives. I believe that… You know, this is every time your child drinks a glass a water, right — that is what this is about.”
Cuomo first announced a commitment for the creation of the center in late 2014, which is being led by Stony Brook University professors Chris Gobler, a marine scientist, and Harold Walker, a civil engineer. “This is an interdisciplinary and collaborative problem solving effort,” said Gobler. “We are committed to bringing talent to the table who can contribute to developing cost-effective solutions to a systematic problem, and to providing the conditions and support under which these breakthroughs can be realized.”
The center’s work can be categorized into three main aspects, according to its directors. It will, “focus on strategic research that will inform refinements to existing technology, develop novel approaches for nutrient and contaminant removal and actively foster collaborations that will inspire and promote entrepreneurship and propel existing businesses.”
Walker says he, along with others who work for the center, are focused on developing new and innovative water technology that can improve partnerships with different departments at Stony Brook University. “Our efforts range from developing strategic research partnerships with colleagues in both science and engineering from within Stony Brook, outside institutions and the private sector, to providing incubator space and support with prototype development or the commercialization process.”
Apart from the launch of the new center, Cuomo also announced that New York State is testing water for contamination at the site of the former Northrop Grumman plan in Bethpage. A toxic plume that includes the chemical and known carcinogen trichloroethylene, or TCE, has been spreading underground for 60 years. The defense contractor used a lubricant that contained the chemical when U.S. Navy fighter jets were being built.