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Extramural Research

EPA RESEARCH FORUM:  Advancing Public Health Protection through Water Infrastructure Sustainability
April 10-11, 2013
Room 4120 at Potomac Yards North (Building 2)
2733 Crystal Drive in Arlington, Virginia


In 2009, EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program awarded funding for two institutions under the RFA “Innovative and Integrative Approaches for Advancing Public Health Protection through Water Infrastructure Sustainability.” The progress review for these grants will include research updates on improving the design, operation and management of existing and future water infrastructure systems.

In 2011, EPA’s STAR program awarded funding for eight institutions under the RFA “Advancing Public Health Protection through Water Infrastructure Sustainability.” The presenters will share their early research results and future plans as they seek to advance public health protection with improvements in the condition and function of water infrastructure. Projects focus on a variety of areas, including lead and copper pipe replacement, biofilm growth in drinking water distribution systems, forward osmosis development, sensor technology advancement and more.

Meeting Presentations


Day 1: April 10, 2013

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.


EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research supports high-quality, cutting-edge research by the nation’s leading scientist to improve EPA’s basis for decisions on national environmental issues.  The Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants featured here support the EPA mission within the Office of Research and Development, Office of Air and Radiation, and Office of Water.  These first speakers will highlight priorities and key research questions within these programs.

9:00 – 10:35 a.m.

Angela Page, EPA
National Center for Environmental Research
Office of Research and Development

James H Johnson, Jr, EPA
National Center for Environmental Research Center Director
Office of Research and Development
“Introductory Remarks and the STAR Program” (PDF) (17 pp, 1.26 MB)

Suzanne van Drunick, EPA
National Program Director
Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Research (SSWR) Program
Office of Research and Development
“Overview of ORD’s SSWR Program” (PDF) (15 pp, 1.41 MB)

Phil Oshida, Deputy Director
OGWDW, SRMD (Standards and Risk Management Division)
“OW’s Perspective on Distribution Systems”

Stig Regli, EPA
Senior Leader Policy Advisor
“What the Research and Information Collection Partnership (RICP) means to EPA”

Chris Rayburn, Director
Subscriber and Research Services
Water Research Foundation
“What the Research and Information Collection Partnership (RICP) means to Water Research Foundation”

10:35 – 11:05 a.m.

Question and Answer (BREAK to follow)

11:05 – 11:30 p.m.

Christine Moe, Emory University
“Measures of Distribution System Water Quality and Their Relation to Health Outcomes in Atlanta” (PDF) (32 pp, 1.4 MB)

Dr. Moe and Co- PIs are investigating the link between health outcomes, quantified through emergency department visits for gastrointestinal illness, to distribution system water quality and infrastructure characteristics.

11:30 – 11:55 p.m.

Pauline Johnson – University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
“Water Infrastructure Sustainability and Health in Alabama’s Black Belt”

Dr. Johnson is collecting data to be used in quantitative microbial risk assessment models and comparing microbial source tracking together with an assessment of system-level risks to water quality. The data collected will be used in a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point framework to identify cost-effective risk mitigation strategies.

11:55 – 1:30 p.m.

LUNCH (On Your Own)

1:30 – 1:55 p.m.

Jonathan Cuppett – Water Research Foundation
“Evaluation of Lead Service Lining and Coating Technologies”(PDF) (46 pp, 1.79 MB)
Dr. Cuppett is evaluating and compiling existing data as well as assessing the long-term performance of linings and coatings based on sampling of water systems having previously installed linings and coatings.  Recommendations will be developed for utilities, engineering consultants, state regulators, and consumers considering the use of these technologies to protect human health, to reduce cost of repairing or replacing service lines, and to improve the aesthetic qualities of drinking water.

1:55 – 2:20 p.m.

Michael Plewa – University of Illinois at Champaign 
“Toxicity of Drinking Water Associated with Alternative Distribution System Rehabilitation Strategies” (PDF) (36 pp, 2.38 MB)
Drs. Plewa and Marinas are developing a comparison of tap water cyto/genotoxicity derived from realistic source waters for various distribution system configuration/disinfection practices.  This analysis will lead to the development and hopeful implementation of strategies for drinking water infrastructure rehabilitation resulting in the generation of safe drinking water.

2:20 – 2:50 p.m.


2:50 – 3:15 p.m.

Tony DeAngelo
National Health Exposure Effects Laboratory
Office of Research and Development
“In Vitro Cytotoxicity of Disinfection Byproducts in Normal Human Colonoctyes” (PDF) (30 pp, 4.61 MB)
Drs. DeAngelo and Simmons are developing an in vitro cytotoxicity assay that uses human colon cells. A number of the DBPs formed during disinfection of drinking water with oxidizing agents have been assessed, including DBPs that are preferentially formed during chloramination. Identification of the DBPs responsible for colon cell toxicity will aid either in selection of water treatment practices that minimize their formation or in remediation methods for removal once they are formed. The human colon cell assay has been conducted using the same duration of exposure and measure of toxicity as the chronic Chinese Hamster Ovary cytotoxicity assay developed by Dr. Plewa (University of Illinois). Future research will include a comparison of the results across these two assays in collaboration with Dr. Plewa.

3:15 – 3:40 p.m.

Darren Lytle
National Risk Management Research Laboratory of Research and Development
“Overview of Water Infrastructure Research in the SSWR Program”

3:40 – 4:05 p.m.

Yan Tao – The University of Hawaii at Manoa
“Rapid Detection of Sewer Pipeline Problems using Bacterial DNA Markers and Q-PCR Technology” (PDF) (20 pp, 2.22 MB)
Dr. Tao is developing bacterial DNA indicators for two common sewer pipeline issues as well as developing Q-PCR methods to quantify them.  Creation of these methods will increase rapidness, high throughput, good tractability and improve reliability enabling municipalities to detect seer pipeline problems at early stages, improver sewer sustainability and advance the protection of public health.

4:05 – 4:30 p.m.

Mark LeChevallier 
Innovation & Environmental Stewardship
American Water
“Case Studies on Utility Pressure Management” (PDF) (39 pp, 4.45 MB)


Day 2: April 11, 2013

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.

Conference Registration

9:00 – 9:25 a.m.

Helen Nguyen – University of Illinois
“Association of Pathogens with Biofilms in Drinking Water Distribution Systems” (PDF) (34 pp, 2.03 MB)
Dr. Nguyen is assessing the public health risk related to waterborne pathogens in Drinking Water Distribution Systems, and approaches for minimizing those risks.  New approaches will be developed for cleaning DWDS based on the strategy of weakening the biofilm matrix and enhancing biomass detachment and provide scientific data to allow sound selection of pipe material and coating material for future construction of Drinking Water Distribution System infrastructure.

9:25 – 9:45 a.m.

Nick Ashbolt – Cooperative Agreement – pathogen/biofilm studies and QMRA development
National Exposure Effects Laboratory of Research and Development
“Pathogen/Biofilm Studies to Support Legionella QMRA Evaluation of Risk Management Options” (PDF) (20 pp, 1.49 MB)

9:45 – 10:10 a.m.

Joel Ducoste – North Carolina State University at Raleigh
“An Integrated Approach to Understanding and Reducing Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG) Deposit Formation for Sustainable Sewer Collection” (PDF) 34 pp, 2.7 MB)
Dr. Ducoste is developing a more in depth look at what influences and reduces the FOG deposit formation rate in order to help utilities and design engineers assess the impact of new residential and commercial development on existing and future sewer infrastructure and the potential for FOG related SSOs.

10:10 – 10:45 a.m.

Steven Pekarek – Purdue University
Development of Mobile Self-Powered Sensors for Potable Water Distribution”
Dr. Pekarek is designing, fabricating and testing a self-powered mobile microsensor network for monitoring critical parameters in the security and reliability of municipal finished water distribution networks.  Data and technology collected will be used to provide operational guidance to municipal water treatment plants and provide a higher level of water security.

10:45 – 11:05 a.m.


11:05 – 11:30 a.m.

Mark LeChevallier
Innovation & Environmental Stewardship
American Water
“Main Break Study” (PDF) (32 pp, 1.55 MB)

11:30 – 11:50 a.m.

Kenneth Bradbury – University of Wisconsin – Madison
“Evaluation of Sanitary Sewers as a Source of Pathogen Contamination of Municipal Water Systems Supply Wells” (PDF) (25 pp, 3.26 MB)
Dr. Bradbury is producing data on groundwater quality adjacent to potentially-leaking sewers, along with create correlations between virus presence, sewer characteristics, and local hydrogeology.  Using predictive modeling, risk of viral contamination of drinking water will be assessed in water supply wells.  

11:50 – 12:10 p.m.

Bruce Macler
EPA Region 9 Office
“Regional Perspective on Water Infrastructure Research” (PDF) (12 pp, 914 K)

12:10 – 12:30 p.m.

Michael Royer
National Risk Management Research Laboratory of Research and Development
“EPA-WERF Cooperative Agreement: Innovation and Research for Water Infrastructure for the 21st Century” (PDF) (11 pp, 901 K)
An overview of an EPA-WERF cooperative agreement that seeks to produce, evaluate, & summarize performance, cost, and value data and information about innovative technologies that will assist the user community to reduce the cost and improve the effectiveness of design, O&M, rehabilitation, and replacement of aging & failing wastewater/ stormwater/drinking water conveyance & treatment infrastructure.

Dan Murray
National Risk Management Research Laboratory of Research and Development
“Update on Research Related to Wastewater Collection Systems” (PDF) (9 pp, 511 K)
An overview of recently completed and ongoing research relating to condition assessment and rehabilitation of wastewater collection systems.


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