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COVID-19

Ongoing Impacts of COVID-19 on North Carolina Water and Wastewater Utilities
Lead Faculty Researchers: Elsemarie Mullins, Omid Barr, Erin Riggs, and Shadi Eskaf – Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tracking SARS-CoV-2 in the Wastewater Across a Range of North Carolina Municipalities
Lead Researcher: Rachel Noble, UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences
Initial Findings of the Effect of COVID-19 on Young Drivers in North Carolina
Lead Researcher: Randa Radwan, Director, UNC Highway Safety Research Center
Initial COVID-19 Mobility Data Trend Analysis in NC
Lead Researcher, Randa Radwan, Director, UNC Highway Safety Research Center

PFAS

Federal and State Responses to Aqueous Film-Firefighting Foam Contamination
The North Carolina PFAS Testing Network is a consortium of university researchers studying the presence of PFAS and working to understand its impact on public health and the environment. Evaluating the use of Aqueous Film-Firefighting Foam and identifying solutions is one component of the study.
An Update on the PFAS Testing Network
The North Carolina Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Testing (PFAST) Network is a statewide research collaboration to test for current levels of PFAS chemicals in drinking water and air samples across the state.
Federal and State Responses to PFAS Contamination
This brief provides an overview of activities, both regulatory and monitoring, that federal and state agencies are implementing in response to current and potential contamination from Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Emerging Contaminants in the Cape Fear Region: University Collaborations on Environmental, Drinking Water Supply and Human Health Effects
This proceedings document from the forum provides a summary of the PFAST Network project and outlines plans for upcoming research.

Energy

Increasing Energy Conversion Efficiency in Solar Panels
Lead Researcher: Michael D. Aitken, Ph.D., UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health

This project brief examines how the accumulation of microorganisms on solar panels may be impacting their efficiency.

Energy Storage Options For North Carolina
Lead Faculty Researcher: Joe DeCarolis, North Carolina State University

The energy storage report assesses the cost and benefits of various energy storage technologies. The study was directed by the North Carolina General Assembly in House bill 589 to address how energy storage technologies may or may not provide value to North Carolina consumers.

Water

Regulatory Efforts to Combat Toxic Algae in Freshwater Sources
Preliminary findings indicate higher concentrations of algal biomass existing in the upper, wider areas of Falls Lake, and that a number of measurements were deemed as impaired due to high levels of algal biomass.
Estimating the Influence of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems on Nutrient Loading to Falls Lake Watershed, North Carolina
The findings indicate that subwatersheds that are treated with Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS) have higher levels of nutrients than sewered subwatersheds. However, the level of influence OWTS has on nutrient loading varies depending on factors such as system density and types, hydrogeological interactions, and past land use.
Under-Sink Activated Carbon Water Filters Effectively Remove Lead from Private Well Water
Lead Faculty Researchers: Riley Mulhern, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson, Indiana University Bloomington
UNC Jordan Lake Study Final Report
Following a three-year study of Jordan Lake commissioned by the North Carolina legislature, a team of university researchers has submitted a final report, which includes management recommendations. The report examines the current state of the lake, evaluates water quality strategies and identifies new funding and policy opportunities.
Helping Local Governments Respond to Drinking Water Incidents
Lead Researchers: Jill Moore, UNC School of Government and Emily Williamson Gangi, ncIMPACT Initiative

A panel of experts from government, academia, and public health participated in the Drinking Water Working Group for the purposes of compiling a toolkit to assist local governments in responding to drinking water incidents.

Economic Analysis

The Economics of Increasing Registration Fees for Electric Vehicles
Lead Researchers: Heather Brutz and Allison Carr, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center

The study analyzes data provided by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles to assess how comparable the revenue created by the current and potential registration fees on electric vehicles is to conventional gasoline taxes.

North Carolina Strategic Plan for Shellfish Mariculture
Lead Faculty Researcher: Joel Fodrie, UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences

The mariculture plan was developed to grow the state’s shellfish industry to $100 million by 2030. The mariculture plan was mandated by the North Carolina General Assembly and developed by a large group of stakeholders during 2018.

The Economic Impact of Invasive Species on Native Hemlocks
Lead Faculty Researcher: John C. Whitehead, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University

The hemlock economic impact report estimates the negative effect of the wooly adelgid on property values and tourism revenue in western North Carolina.

Are Floodplain Buyouts A Smart Investment For Local Governments?
Lead Faculty Researchers: David Salvesen, Todd BenDor, UNC-Chapel Hill

The floodplain buyout report is intended to assess the fiscal impacts of floodplain buyouts on municipalities. Case studies from several flood-prone areas in North Carolina were analyzed and properties were mapped to determine net fiscal impacts of floodplain buyout projects.

Other

Marine Fisheries and Coastal Resource Management
In 2020, the North Carolina Marine and Estuary Foundation commissioned a study in partnership with the NC Policy Collaboratory to identify the most effective fisheries management strategies implemented by the 23 coastal states. The findings suggest that information and education gaps must be filled in North Carolina and other states to support needed solutions for the long-term health of coastal fisheries.
North Carolina Cancer Research Advisory Panel Recommendations
Lead Researcher: Andy Olshan, PhD, Gillings School of Global Public Health and UNC School of Medicine

In 2016, cancer was the leading cause of death in North Carolina (NC DHSS, 2016). While for many cancers, the causes are unknown, scientists have identified a small number of chemicals, lifestyle factors, and genes involved in causing cancer and promoting its development.

Expanding the use of Biological Control as a Mitigation Tool for Control of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Western North Carolina
Lead Researchers: James Costa and Peter Bates, Western Carolina University; Steven Turner, NCDACS-BIL

This project is a partnership effort between Western Carolina University and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.