IRSA was established in 1968 to carry out researches mainly in two main fields: i) management and protection of water resources; ii) development of methodologies and technologies for water and wastewater treatment. Since its foundation, IRSA has been structured in three units/laboratories located in Rome, Milan and Bari and cooperates with Ministries, Public Administrations, Agencies, Industries, SMEs and Research Institutions by performing innovative researches, pre-regulatory investigations, educational and training activities.
The institutional activity of IRSA is essentially addressed to:
- Parliament and public administrations with all information they need to issue appropriate legislation concerning water;
- Water management agencies with the best methodologies for water resources exploitation and protection;
- National industries and or SMEs with state of the art, processes and prototypes to enhance their competitiveness in the market
To achieve such goals IRSA operates over the whole range of its reference sectors, through basic and applied researches, processes and methodologies development, pilot and full-size plant design, costs evaluation and results dissemination.
Presently the main research-lines depicting IRSA activities, all falling within the current reference international context, are: aquatic ecosystems functioning and response to impacts, contaminants fate and effects, municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, sludge and solid waste management, remediation of polluted aquifers and soils, sustainable management of water resources, groundwater-soil-rocks interactions.
Given its broad spectrum of competences, IRSA provides services, in terms of advisory and professional activities, to several stakeholders, public as well as private, among which national security forces committed to contrast environmental crimes. Several laws explicitly refer to IRSA as reference Institute for the Ministry of Environment. IRSA is official member in many EC research-planning, decision-making and regulatory groups and organizations.