Co-funded by the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWB), the Water Research Foundation has issued an RFP for Standardizing Methods with QA/QC Standards for Investigating the Occurrence and Removal of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria/Antibiotic Resistance Genes (ARB/ARGs) in Surface Water, Wastewater, and Recycled Water.
The 2016 report Evaluation of the Feasibility of Developing Uniform Water Recycling Criteria for Direct Potable Reuse offered three specific recommendations concerning antibiotic resistance in recycled water: 1) the development of risk models, 2) standardizing ARB/ARG monitoring methods, and 3) assessing the efficacy of various advanced water treatment technologies for ARB/ARG removal. Using the results of the report, the 2018 Science Advisory Panel on Constituents of Emerging Concern in Recycled Water identified the need to develop a consensus on analytical methods designed to detect ARB/ARGs before monitoring could be recommended.
Recent advances in molecular methods (including metagenomics and qPCR) have the potential to detect and characterize ARB/ARGs in a culture-independent, systematic manner. Identifying a standard operating procedure (SOP) with QA/QC measures will provide the industry with a better understanding of the occurrence of ARB/ARGs in surface water, wastewater, and recycled water. There is a need for standardized monitoring methods, which is the first step toward the other recommendations. Well-established methods will make it possible to reliably measure the removal of ARB/ARGs through the treatment process, and the use of these methods in future studies will provide an understanding of potential risk.
Through this RFP, grants of up to $200,000 will be awarded in support of efforts to develop a consensus for a standardized approach to profiling ARB/ARGs that can be used to generate comparable data for use in future research and identify QA/QC components and data-quality objectives.
Eligible applicants include domestic or international entities, including educational institutions, research organizations, governmental agencies, and consultants or other for-profit entities. Because a portion of the funding is from California, there are territory limitations that prohibit individuals and/or organizations from certain states from participating in the project. (Limitations can be reviewed at https://oag.ca.gov/ab1887.)
See the Water Research Foundation website for complete program guidelines and application instructions.