Welcome from the Director
The New York State Center for Clean Water Technology (CCWT) is a nationally unique effort, launched in 2015 to create a bridge between research institutions, regulatory agencies and private sector resources to efficiently overcome knowledge and technology gaps in regional water quality restoration solutions, and to serve as a platform to attract industry support and compete for large federal grants.
The Threat to Long Island
The dependence on groundwater as a source of drinking water is considerable in the New York State. Approximately one-third of the state’s population is directly dependent on groundwater for residential drinking water supply. Long Island is entirely dependent on the underlying sole-source aquifer system that supply drinking water to over 2.8 million people in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Long Island's environment, public health, and economy are severely threatened by the rapidly declining water quality. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are causing massive declines in fisheries as well as threats to public health; widespread loss of wetlands have weakened the island’s natural resiliency against coastal storms, and steady contamination of the region’s sole source aquifer threatens drinking water supplies. Studies show that the leading source of nitrogen contamination is wastewater emanating from the more than 500,000 cesspools and septic systems in Nassau and Suffolk Counties -- the greatest concentration of individual onsite wastewater disposal systems in the nation. This is a classic example of how drinking water and wastewater systems are closely interconnected in urban and suburban regions forming an “urban water cycle”.
The Center’s thrust is to research, develop and commercialize more (cost-)effective solutions for removing nitrogen and other contaminants of emerging concern from both drinking water and onsite (i.e. household) wastewater, thus addressing the entire urban water cycle. Funded initially by New York State, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Rauch Foundation, a key Center goal is to leverage the unprecedented scale of need, access to world-class resources and high levels of political support for water quality protection into a unique business opportunity on Long Island that will drive innovation and deliver needed improvements in water and wastewater technology. These improved solutions will address environmental problems regionally and beyond, spurring job creation and positioning the region as a new water technology hub.
A joint venture between the top-ranked School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and the Department of Civil Engineering, the Center's Team is comprised of senior faculty, full-time research scientists, and graduate students at Stony Brook University who are bringing unmatched cross-disciplinary expertise and equipment resources to the challenge of improving drinking water and wastewater treatment.
The Center for Clean Water Technology is a nexus for both innovation and entrepreneurship. We are marshaling the best science and engineering to develop solutions to our water quality problems that will be applicable to other parts of the United States and globally.
-- Dr. Chris Gobler