Researchers to study drinking water in rural communities

Dr. Honglan Shi, an assistant research professor of chemistry at Missouri University of Science and Technology, is participating in an EPA study of drinking water in some of Missouri’s rural communities.


The three-year project will be based on field work and lab analysis. Shi and some S&T students will visit several small water treatment facilities in Missouri to conduct investigations and collect water samples. Their efforts account for about $150,000 of the $500,000 joint study.

Dr. John Yang, an associate professor at Lincoln University, is leading the project. Dr. Enos Inniss, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is a co-investigator.

Though drinking water in the U.S. is considered very safe, especially when compared to other countries, Shi says water sources in general contain some level of contaminants and organic material that can be harmful if the water isn’t tested and treated in the best ways. That’s why the EPA is taking steps to tighten regulations on water treatment and improve drinking water quality. The biggest problem for small communities, according to Shi, is that they can’t afford to implement advanced technologies.

The researchers say it is critical to develop low-cost, easy-to-operate, and energy-efficient treatment technologies to safeguard rural residents from water contamination and to meet the EPA requirements.