Funding announcement: Great Lakes Sediment Surveillance Program 2020 RFA

Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-R5-GL2020-SSP
Application Deadline: June 27, 2020
Download the full RFA

This Request for Applications (RFA) solicits applications from eligible entities for a cooperative agreement to be awarded pursuant to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan III.

EPA is seeking applications to monitor the spatial distributions and temporal trends of persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals in sediments of the Great Lakes.

Program Components

These are the three components of the Great Lakes Sediment Surveillance Program (GLSSP):

Program Activities

The GLSSP Monitoring Program monitors legacy contaminants and conducts surveillance for contaminants of emerging concern in sediment cores and ponar grabs within open lake sampling locations in each of the Great Lakes. 

  1. Sample Analysis – Applicants are expected to collect and analyze for all required contaminants in sediment samples (See list below). Physical characteristics of sediment must also be collected (i.e. bulk density, percent moisture, grain size, etc). Applicants must describe their proposed analysis methods and minimum detection levels (MDL) of all proposed methods. Applicants may also propose new contaminants of interest for analysis that are not included in this list.

    Required analyte list for sediment samples
    • PCBs 
    • PCDDs 
    • PCDFs 
    • PCNs 
    • PCDEs 
    • PBDEs 
    • Non-PBDE brominated flame retardants 
    • Non-DP chlorinated flame retardants 
    • Organochlorine pesticides 
    • Triazine herbicides 
    • Musk fragrances 
    • PFOA/PFAS 
    • Polyhalogenated Carbazoles 
    • PAHs 
    • Lead 
    • Mercury 
  2. Data Management, Interpretation, Statistical Analysis and Reporting – Applicants are expected to manage data generated through sample analysis and submit the data to EPA. Applicants are expected to interpret data through statistical analysis and report findings to EPA. Annual progress summaries and a final report at the end of the five-year cycle are also expected. It is expected that the recipient of this cooperative agreement, if awarded, will share this data with applicable federal and state agencies, and tribal organizations managing chemical contaminant surveillance programs. Any data generated pursuant to this cooperative agreement, if awarded, will be provided to EPA and to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).
  3. Quality Assurance and Quality Control – Applicants are expected to develop, implement and maintain a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP).

Field Activities

Applicants are expected to participate in field work aboard the R/V Lake Guardian. Applications for this cooperative agreement must include proposed open lake depositional zones for sampling within each of the five Great Lakes. One lake will be sampled per year, beginning with Lake Michigan in the 2020 field year. More information about the R/V Lake Guardian​ 

Field Activities Schedule

  • 2020: Lake Michigan
  • 2021: Lake Superior
  • 2022: Lake Huron
  • 2023: Lake Ontario
  • 2024: Lake Erie

Special Studies/Cooperative Science and Monitoring

Information on the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative


Under this competition, approximately $3 million may be awarded for one cooperative agreement over a five-year period, consisting of incremental funding of about $600,000 per year. Proposed projects must be limited to the specified project duration of five years. All incrementally funded awards will be subject to the availability of funding, future appropriations, satisfactory performance of work, and other applicable considerations.  

Who Can Apply

Nonfederal governmental entities are eligible to apply for funding under this RFA, including:

  • state agencies,
  • interstate agencies,
  • federally recognized Indian tribes and tribal organizations,
  • local governments,
  • institutions of higher learning (i.e., colleges and universities),
  • and non-profit organizations as defined in 2 C.F.R. § 200

Not eligible:

  • individuals
  • foreign organizations and governments,
  • nonprofit organizations exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying,
  • and “for-profit” organizations

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The human cost of the climate crisis will hit harder, wider and sooner than previously believed, according to a study that shows a billion people will either be displaced or forced to endure insufferable heat for every additional 1C rise in the global temperature.

As Food Waste and Insecurity Spike, ReFED’s COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund Aims to Spark Change Beyond the Pandemic

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ReFED, an organization that analyzes solutions to food waste, is working to save food and deliver relief to those in need through the COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund, which launched this week.

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Webinar: Innovative Technologies for PFAS Destruction in Investigation Derived Wastes

May 7, 2020, 11 am CDT.
Register here.

“Electrochemical Oxidation of PFAS Using a Novel Reactive Electrochemical Membrane Technology” by Dr. Brian Chaplin (SERDP Project Webpage)

 Electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOPs) have emerged as promising water treatment technologies for the elimination of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Progress has been facilitated by the development of novel, stable electrode materials that efficiently promote the rate-determining direct oxidation of PFAS, which occurs at very high anodic potentials. This presentation discusses ongoing research efforts aimed at advancing EAOPs for PFAS oxidation in contaminated groundwater utilizing a novel reactive electrochemical membrane (REM) technology. Specific technical objectives include the following: (1) development of REMs for destructive PFAS removal in synthetic and real groundwater samples; (2) determination of the optimal operational mode of this technology; and, (3) calculation of energy requirements for the REM-based system for comparison to other technologies. A specific focus on treatment of PFOS and PFOA was made, which allowed comparison of results to the existing literature. Results indicate that the REM was successful at reducing PFAS from initial concentrations in the milligram per liter (mg/L) to microgram per liter (µg/L) range to the nanogram per liter (ng/L) range, where the exact operational mode was dependent on solution conditions. We will discuss the challenges and limitations associated with this technology to establish a realistic vision of a REM-based remediation technology for PFAS removal. Overcoming these challenges is the focus of ongoing research, which will enable pilot-scale testing to further validate this new technology.

“Plasma Based Treatment Processes for PFAS Investigation Derived Waste” by Dr. Thomas Holsen (SERDP Project Webpage)

 This presentation highlights SERDP efforts to reduce Department of Defense (DoD) liabilities by developing sustainable, cost-effective technologies to destroy PFAS in aqueous investigation derived waste (IDW). IDW consists of excess soil cuttings, purge water from groundwater sampling, and fluid from decontamination of drilling equipment that are contaminated with PFAS as well as potentially many other traditional contaminants. IDW is typically disposed of offsite at a facility equipped to handle such material, which can increase investigation costs. If the IDW can be treated destructively onsite, the need for transport and disposal offsite can be circumvented. This SERDP project investigated soil washing of IDW with a combination of water, methanol and sodium chloride followed by treatment of the soil washing solution in a plasma-based reactor to destroy desorbed PFAS. The presentation will describe the results of that work which indicated the following: (1) soil washing with water containing small amounts of methanol and sodium chloride is effective at removing PFAS (although water alone is fairly effective); (2) PFAS are removed from soil quickly (minutes in these experiments); and, (3) plasma treatment from high concentration salt solutions is effective.

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Brian P. Chaplin is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research is focused on novel electrochemical and catalytic processes for water treatment, with an emphasis on developing technologies that promote water sustainability. He is a recipient of the 2015 National Science Foundation Early CAREER Development Award, 2019 Environmental Science and Technology Early Career Scientist Award, and 2018 Environmental Science and Technology Best Paper Award in the area of environmental technology. Dr. Chaplin holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota in civil engineering, and a doctoral degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in environmental engineering. His postdoctoral training was in the area of electrochemistry at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Thomas Holsen is the Jean S. Newell Distinguished Professor in Engineering, professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Clarkson University and director of the Clarkson Center for Air and Aquatic Resources Engineering and Sciences. His primary research interests include the transport, transformations, fate and treatment of legacy and emerging hydrophobic organic chemicals, mercury, metals, and ions. He is a co-principal investigator on several DoD projects investigating the use of non-thermal plasma to remove PFAS from water. Dr. Holsen has over 195 publications and has successfully supervised research projects from industrial sources and State and Federal Agencies. He is a Board Certified Environmental Engineering Member of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. He earned his doctoral degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Webinar: Emerging Contaminants

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 2pm CT
Register here.

This week is drinking water week , reminding us of the critical role water plays in all of our lives. To celebrate, tune in next Wednesday for the next edition of The Current Webinar series as we focus on emerging water contaminants. You’ll hear how contaminants such as microplastics and PFASs play a role in contaminating water as well as how soil is used to remediate wastewater for trace contaminants.

Featured Speakers:

  • John Scott, Senior Analytical Chemist, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center: “Plastic in the Environment”
  • Ganga Hettiarachchi, Professor of Soil and Environmental Chemistry, Kansas State University: “Soil-based Wastewater Remediation”
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