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EPA Awards $2.5 Million of Grants to Promote New Environmental Technologies; Three Massachusetts Companies Among the 27 Recipients

Release Date: 12/05/2002
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that three Massachusetts companies are among 27 nationally receiving $2.5 million in EPA grants to develop and commercialize new cost-efficient technologies for addressing some of the nation's most pressing environmental problems.

Bay State companies winning grants from EPA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program include Diversified Technologies Inc. of Bedford, Boston MicroSystems Inc. of Woburn, and Foster-Miller Inc. of Waltham.

Nearly half of the 27 grants are targeted on New England-specific pollution problems, including removal of arsenic from drinking water, abating combined sewer overflow (CSO) pollution, controlling stormwater runoff and rehabilitating urban infrastructure. Nationally, 14 SBIR grants totaling $1.4 million were awarded for tackling these problems

"These grants hold great promise for finding new, cost-efficient technologies that communities can use for tackling many of the region's most serious pollution problems," said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office, who announced the grants in a speech today to the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association in Concord. "Many of New England's cities and towns are facing big financial challenges in controlling CSOs, stormwater and other contamination problems. These grants are one way we're working to ease the burden."

Discharges from CSOs and stormwater runoff are a major problem in New England and are a big reason why many of the region's rivers and estuaries remain unsafe for swimming and fishing. Arsenic in drinking water is another priority area, especially in states such as New Hampshire where arsenic exists naturally in much of the state's groundwater. Last year EPA promulgated a new, more stringent standard for arsenic in drinking water that public water suppliers must comply with by 2006.

The national SBIR program is designed to strengthen the role of small businesses in federally funded research and development and help develop a stronger national base for technical innovation. SBIR grants go to small businesses to investigate the commercial feasibility of advanced technologies. All applications must pass scientific peer review and EPA relevancy reviews. Companies winning Phase I SBIR grants are also eligible for Phase II grants of up to $295,000, for the purpose of bringing the technologies to a commercially viable stage.

Winners of Phase I grants from New England were:

      Diversified Technologies Inc. Bedford, MA
      $99,092 for "Wastewater Treatment for Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) by Pulsed Electric Field Processing"

      Boston MicroSystems Inc., Woburn, MA
      $100,000 for "SiC-Microbatplate Conductometric Sensor Array for NOx, CO and Hydrocarbon Monitoring of Hot Engine Emissions"

      Foster-Miller Inc., Waltham, MA
      $69,992 for "Electrostatically Charged Aerosol Decontamination System for Small Building Bioterrorism Decontamination"

In addition to providing 8 SBIR grants for companies to develop new arsenic removal technologies, EPA is funding 12 projects to demonstrate currently available arsenic removal treatment technologies at small drinking water system sites across the US. Two of these demonstration projects will take place at sites in New Hampshire – specifically, Allenstown and Rollingsford.

The grants and demonstration projects are part of the $20 million that EPA has pledged over the next two years in support of the necessary research and development of more cost-effective arsenic removal technologies as well as technical assistance and training to operators of small systems to reduce their compliance costs.

For more information, visit EPA New England's Center for Environmental Industry & Technology (CEIT) web site at http://www.epa.gov/region1/assistance/ceit/index.html