image © Gabriella Rundblad, while original earth image courtesy of NASA National Space Science Data Center

Terminology for Improved Communication Regarding CECs


Water Research Foundation


Gabriella Rundblad (project manager and primary investigator)
Eric Olofson (researcher)
Chris Tang (researcher)
Per Haugsoen (researcher)
Aga Tytus (research assistant)
Carrie Olofson (research assistant and project admin)


El Paso Water Utilities, US
American Water, US
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, US
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commision, US
Fairfax Water, US
DC Water, US
United Water, US
City of Boulder, US
Central Arkansas Water,US
Southern Nevada Water, US
Las Vegas Valley Water District, US
Coliban Water, Australia


January 2015 - April 2016


The minute presence of Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs), such as Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs) and Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs), in the water supply has been subject to considerable scientific interest over the last two decades. The contamination is at levels so low they have until recently been undetectable. Public health research have not found any indication that contamination at such low levels are a threat to human health. Nevertheless, there is some public concern and a strong need for improved communication.

The primary aim of this project (#4551) is to develop successful communication tools to ensure that consumers easily can find and understand tailored water quality information relating to CECs and risk.

If you are a subscriber to the Water Research Foundation, you can now find the Scope of Work on their website.


This project include a large number of tasks, and we aim to present results from this in June 2015 (see TALKS below), followed by published reports later on (see PUBLICATIONS below). Here is a list of the tasks:

1) Analysis of texts about water quality
2) Consumer and Water professional survey asking what a contaminant is
3) Consumer survey testing words that mean "stuff"
4) Consumer survey testing words that mean "risky" and "safe"
5) Consumer survey testing words that mean "big" and "small"
6) Consumer survey asking what consumers want to know about water quality and how
7) Evaluation of water utilty web presence
8) Evaluation of how consumers interact with their water utilty


Rundblad, G. 2015. Communicating Health Risks From Trace Contaminants. AWWA Annual Conference & Exposition, Anaheim.

Rundblad, G. 2015. How consumers want to be informed about risk, contaminants and water quality. AWWA Annual Conference & Exposition, Anaheim. Invited talk.


If you would like some more information about our project, please contact Gabriella Rundblad,, 020 7848 3136.

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