Holistic Strategies for Managing Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) in Water

Jun 5, 2019

Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) enter waters through various point and non-point sources. While there is no absolute barrier against exposure to CECs, there are many management and control strategies that should be considered if removal from water is necessary or desired. These strategies include but are not limited to green chemistry, watershed approaches to protect source waters, advanced wastewater treatment, and even point-of-use devices. Exposure and contributions from diverse sources by various routes like drinking water, air, personal care products, and food further complicate consideration of management strategies. The goal of this Research Area was to better understand costs and benefits of various approaches to manage and control CECs to help water utilities better engage with community officials, other decision-makers, and regulators to develop holistic management plans and prioritize investments to address CECs.


Research Area Objectives

  1. Identify and analyze the current paradigms used in the United States and internationally to manage CECs in water
  2. Develop and evaluate alternative holistic control strategies or paradigms for managing CECs in water
  3. Compare the relative costs and benefits of alternative holistic control strategies and/or paradigms for managing CECs in water


Research Area Project Timeline and Value

Evaluation of Current and Alternative Strategies for Managing CECs in Water

  • Timeline: Q3 2013–Q4 2017
  • Total Project Value: $693,966
  • Research Area Objectives: Current Paradigms, Alternative Strategies, Cost/Benefit

Cumulative Value of Research Area Research: $693,966


Projects Funded Outside of the Research Area Program that meet a Research Area Objective

Another WRF Research Area, Contaminants of Emerging Concern and Risk Communication, funded several additional research projects on CECs.

Project Status

Year Initiated: 2012

Year Completed: 2014


Advisory Committee Members

  • Mohammad Habibian, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission
  • Heath Mash, EPA; Alan Roberson, ASDWA (formerly with AWWA)
  • Erik Rosenfeldt, Hazen and Sawyer
  • Steven Schindler, NYCDEP