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Release: Nov. 13, 2002

UI professor receives $134,900 grant for water quality studies

Richard Valentine, professor of civil and environmental engineering in the University of Iowa College of Engineering, has been awarded a two-year, $134,900 grant from the U.S. Geological Survey for a study of potential water contaminants.

Valentine's project, titled, "Relationship of nitroso compound formation potential to drinking source water quality and organic nitrogen precursor source characteristics," focuses on a recently discovered class of disinfection by-products. These nitroso compounds are potent carcinogens formed when chlorine disinfectants react with certain organic nitrogen-containing compounds that contaminate water.

Valentine hypothesizes that the compounds are most likely to form in waters impacted by agricultural runoff and discharges from confined animal feeding operations, as these may be an important source of organic nitrogen precursors. "The existence of such linkages between drinking source water quality and water quality at the tap would suggest that better control of some agriculturally related practices may be warranted, or that some common disinfection practices be modified to better consider the limitations in source water quality," says Valentine.