Water Research Webinar Series

EPA staff conducting water-related research

Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Research Program

Free webinars held every other month from 2:00-3:00 PM EST

EPA's Office of Research and Development is hosting monthly webinars to share information on its Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Research Program. Through innovative science and engineering, cost-effective, sustainable solutions to 21st century complex water issues are being developed. These solutions will help ensure that clean and adequate supplies of water are available to support human health and resilient aquatic ecosystems, now and into the future.

2016 Schedule and Registration

  • February 24, 2016: Financing Opportunities for Implementing Green Infrastructure Projects to Manage Stormwater
    bioretention cell rain garden

    Register now for the webinar Exit

    Presentation 1: (Presented by Joshua Kurtz, The Nature Conservancy). The Nature Conservancy is working across the country on leveraging existing, and developing new innovative approaches, to finance and deploy green infrastructure projects to manage stormwater. This presentation will provide an overview of work done around the country that enables the utilization of public and private funding sources to implement GI in order to create the greatest ecological, economic and social benefits. A discussion on how the Conservancy is exploring ways to share lessons learned and best management practices across multiple jurisdictions and municipalities will also be provided.

    Presentation 2: (Presented by Holly Galavotti, EPA's Office of Wastewater Management). This presentation will provide an overview of innovative financing for green infrastructure programs and highlight low-cost, state- of-the-art financing opportunities for green infrastructure projects through State Revolving Funds. EPA’s new Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center will also be discussed. This center of financial expertise is a resource to communities who are exploring options for financing resilient drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. It is working to promote innovative financing approaches and expand capacity building efforts through collaborative technical assistance, specifically on how to best support communities to develop dedicated sources of revenue for their stormwater and green infrastructure programs

    About the Presenters

    Joshua KurtzJoshua Kurtz (Contact: jkurtz@tnc.org)
    Josh is a policy analyst with The Nature Conservancy’s MD/DC Chapter working on stormwater management policies and regulations that allow for leveraging private investment for green infrastructure deployment in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Josh also works on a team evaluating stormwater management policies across the country, focusing on innovative funding mechanisms.


    Holly GalavottiHolly Galavotti (Contact: galavotti.holly@epa.gov)
    Holly has worked at EPA for 11 years. She currently works in the Office of Wastewater Management on the municipal stormwater permit program and coordinates with regions, states, municipalities, and other stakeholders on implementing the program. Holly also works with EPA’s new Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center, where she focuses on providing information and technical assistance to communities on stormwater and green infrastructure financing. Holly has a master's degree in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in biology from James Madison University.

Past 2015 Webinars

  • Ecosystem Services Approaches to Restoring a Sustainable Chesapeake Bay and its Tributary Watersheds (December 16, 2015)
    Aerial image of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries

    The Chesapeake Bay watershed is suffering from water quality impairment, addressed through total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) that limit the allowable amount of pollutant loads. Despite progress, meeting TMDL limits presents challenging tradeoffs in where/how to control pollution sources. This presentation discussed an EPA project that explored means of reducing the costs of meeting the TMDLs for nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment, while at the same time promoting the creation or restoration of “bonus” ecosystem services not related to water quality in the Bay. A optimization framework was developed to 1) examine how incorporating selected co-benefits, such as carbon sequestration, recreation/hunting, and air quality, of nutrient reductions alters management approaches; 2) assess TMDL cost reductions under alternative trading scenarios; and 3) review ecosystem services that cannot be monetized but are linked to human welfare. This work supports innovative approaches to TMDLs, which can be transferred to other impaired estuaries.

    About the Presenters

    Dr. Brenda RashleighBrenda Rashleigh, Ph.D. (Contact: rashleigh.brenda@epa.gov)
    Dr. Rashleigh is an aquatic ecologist with EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD). She is the Chief of the Population Ecology Branch in ORD’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL)/Atlantic Ecology Division, the acting NHEERL liaison to ORD’s Safe and Sustainable Water Resources (SSWR) Research Program, and served as the SSWR lead for the Chesapeake Bay restoration project on ecosystem services and market based aspects of TMDL implementation for nutrients and sediment. She has a B.S. in Biological Science, an M.S. in Environmental Science/Water Resources, and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.


    Naomi Detenbeck, Ph.D. (Contact: detenbeck.naomi@epa.gov)
    Dr. Detenbeck is an ecologist with NHEERL’s Atlantic Ecology Division in Narragansett, RI. As a task lead for SSWR green infrastructure research, she oversees several pilot projects designed to assess the effectiveness of green infrastructure in protecting biological and habitat condition at a watershed scale. Dr. Detenbeck also oversees the development and pilot applications of EPA’s Watershed Management Optimization Support Tool and development of EPA’s Estuary Data Mapper tool.

  • Monitoring and Early Detection of Invasive Species in Lakes (November 18, 2015)
    Image of invasive species related related research

    Advancing Capability for Bioassessment Using DNA Metabarcoding: Application to Aquatic Invasive Species Monitoring. Characterizing biological communities by their constituent species is fundamental to biological monitoring and ecological condition assessment. Finding and identifying rare species is a long-standing challenge for monitoring programs. Nevertheless, conducting surveys that can describe the “rare biosphere” is important because infrequently encountered species include those that are threatened, endangered, cryptic, or newly-introduced (and potentially invasive). Species identification has traditionally been carried out through analysis of morphological traits, both external and internal. More recently, the creation of species-specific DNA libraries has permitted identification of organisms based on a DNA “barcode.” However, incorporating DNA metabarcoding into biological monitoring requires attention to survey design, sample processing, and bioinformatics methods to improve the accuracy and efficiency of rare species detection. In this webinar, an approach to incorporating rare-biosphere information and DNA metabarcoding in the development of a Great Lakes program for aquatic invasive species early detection was presented.

    About the Presenters

    Dr. Joel HoffmanJoel Hoffman, Ph.D. (Contact: hoffman.joel@epa.gov)
    Dr. Joel Hoffman joined EPA’s Office of Research and Development as a research biologist in 2009. He received a Ph.D. in Marine Science from The College of William and Mary, a B.S in Resource Ecology and Management from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resource and Environment, and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. While at EPA, Joel has worked on developing tracers to characterize a variety of anthropogenic impacts in coastal ecosystems, quantifying ecosystem services that benefit Great Lakes coastal communities, and improving aquatic invasive species early detection.


    Dr. Anett Trebitz Anett Trebitz, Ph.D. (Contact: trebitz.anett@epa.gov)
    Dr. Anett Trebitz has been with EPA’s Office of Research and Development as a research ecologist since 1995. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Limnology, and a M.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Her research interests include species-habitat interactions, ecosystem responses to anthropogenic stressors, and numerical analyses/modeling. Since joining EPA, Anett has worked on a variety of projects such as invasive species early detection science, Great Lakes limnology, and wetland water quality and fish ecology.

  • Ocean and Coastal Acidification (October 28, 2015)
    image of the ocean

    Earth’s oceans absorb between one fourth and one third of carbon dioxide emissions from human activities. The resulting shifts in seawater carbon chemistry, including the decrease in pH, are collectively known as “acidification” and have been shown to impact marine organisms. In coastal environments, acidification is sometimes modified or enhanced by local factors, such as when nutrient enrichment stimulates algal production. Under particular conditions, this surplus algal biomass sinks to lower depths where its decomposition by microbial organisms consumes oxygen and produces carbon dioxide. The coastal acidification resulting from this additional carbon dioxide and other local factors exhibits stronger seasonal dynamics and spatial variation than has been seen in ocean environments, and thus, creates its own set of challenges for scientists and managers. This webinar will provided an overview of ocean and coastal acidification and will discuss EPA’s research efforts to address challenges in the coastal environment.

    About the Presenter

    Dr. Jason GrearJason S. Grear, Ph.D. (Contact: grear.jason@epa.gov)

    Dr. Jason Grear joined EPA’s Office of Research and Development as a research ecologist in 2003. He received his PhD from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where his dissertation focused on the spatial dynamics of social organisms in changing environments. Prior to his dissertation work, Jason’s published research focused on shorebird migration, the ecology of coastal lagoons in the Caribbean, and the ecological effects of hurricanes in the neotropics. He also worked for six years in Connecticut’s coastal management program for Long Island Sound. Since joining EPA, Jason has worked on methods for assessing water quality impacts on marine crustaceans and fish-eating bird populations, the ecology of vector-borne diseases, and the impacts of nutrient-driven coastal acidification and hypoxia on coastal ecosystems and shellfish populations.

  • Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources (September 23, 2015)

    Since the early 2000s, oil and natural gas production in the United States has been transformed by hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling. Hydraulic fracturing has significantly increased domestic energy supplies while also raising concerns about potential impacts to human health and the environment. In June 2015, the EPA released a draft assessment of the potential for hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas to change the quality or quantity of drinking water resources. The assessment reviewed and synthesized the scientific literature, including publications resulting from EPA’s Office of Research and Development/Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Research Program, and information provided by stakeholders. This webinar will present the results of this draft assessment.

    About the Presenters

    Dr. Stephen LeDucStephen LeDuc, Ph.D. (Contact: leduc.stephen@epa.gov) Dr. Stephen LeDuc joined EPA’s Office of Research and Development in 2009 as a research scientist focused on soil and water quality. He received his Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from Michigan State University in 2009 where he examined the effects of wildfire disturbance and forest management on soil carbon and nitrogen cycling. During his time with EPA, Dr. LeDuc has worked on a wide range of projects, including the effects of mountain top mining on aquatic ecosystems, wetland and stream connectivity to downstream waters, climate change and forest management effects on ecosystem services, and hydraulic fracturing and the potential impacts to drinking water resources. His work has been recognized by numerous EPA awards, including a gold medal for exceptional service to the Agency.

  • Diagnosing Stressor Importance in EPA’s National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS) (August 19, 2015)
    Image of a lake in Idaho

    Most of us understand the threats to our own personal health and, to a lesser extent, the relative importance of factors that are important to the health of people across the country. We have a little less understanding of the data that underlie our understanding and beliefs. Even more elusive to most, is the same information about the factors threatening the health of our Nation’s freshwaters systems. This webinar will present the ORD research done in conjunction with the Office of Water to help clarify an approach for large scale diagnosis of the major factors impacting the biological health of freshwaters.

    About the Presenter

    Steve Paulsen, Ph.D. (Contact: paulsen.steve@epa.gov)
    Dr. Paulsen joined EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) in 1990 on an Intergovernmental Personnel Agreement to lead the freshwater component of ORD’s Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP). He received his Ph.D. in Aquatic Ecology from the University of California–Davis where he focused on nutrient cycling in lakes. In 1994, Dr. Paulsen joined EPA in a permanent position in 1994 where he continued his work on monitoring and assessment in EMAP. Dr. Paulsen was involved with EPA’s Office of Water during the transition of EMAP concept into the National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS), and has spearheaded ORD’s technical support of OW and ORD’s research to enhance and improve aquatic monitoring across the country.

  • Next-Generation Community Water Systems: Sustainability of Coastal Community Water and Sanitation Service Options (July 29, 2015)
    Comparison of traditional and next generation water systems in building

    Changes in drinking water and wastewater management have typically resulted from new regulations, which focus on developing and implementing additions to the current treatment and delivery schemes; however, these additions are generally undertaken in the absence of a holistic systems view and result in transferring issues from one problem area to another. Future alternatives need to address the whole water services system and be evaluated over a range of relevant criteria. Hence a set of metrics and tools need to be agreed upon to facilitate solutions to identify "next-generation" sustainable systems.

    This presentation shared results from a case study that evaluated next-generation coastal community water and sanitation systems using a set of proposed, integrated sustainability metrics. System options were compared across environmental impact, life cycle costs, human health impact, and technical resilience. The metric results were presented, along with a comparison of the systems across the metrics. The presentation concluded with a discussion of how the results could be used by decision makers in the case study community and by others to further explore tradeoffs among selected community water systems.

    About the Presenter

    Dr. Mary Schoen

    Mary Schoen, Ph.D.
    Dr. Mary Schoen joined Soller Environmental after completing a post-doctoral research position with the EPA. While with the EPA, she developed risk assessment and sustainability assessment tools for natural and engineered water systems. Dr. Schoen’s work assessing recreational water health impacts using quantitative microbial risk assessment helped to establish the scientific foundation for the development of 2012 Draft National Ambient Water Quality Criteria. She holds a Doctorate degree in Engineering and Public Policy, a Master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Carnegie Mellon University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Bucknell University. Dr. Schoen is an affiliate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at the University of Washington.

  • Methane Emissions from Reservoirs: Assessing the Magnitude and Developing Mitigation Approaches (June 24, 2015)
    Lake Harsha in Ohio

    Although methane can be emitted from a number of natural sources, it is the second most important greenhouse gas emitted from human-related activities and has a heat trapping capacity 34 times greater than that of carbon dioxide on a 100-year time scale. The U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Reported that, in 2013, methane accounted for about 10% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from known human-related activities, such as livestock production, rice agriculture, landfills, and natural gas mining; however, one source not included in the inventory was emissions from reservoirs. This webinar presented current EPA research in this area, including 1) a case study of a reservoir in Ohio, 2) a discussion of the factors controlling methane emission rates, and 3) research designed to identify possible mitigation actions.

    About the Presenter

    Dr. Jake BeaulieuJake Beaulieu, Ph.D. (Contact: beaulieu.jake@epa.gov)

    Dr. Beaulieu joined EPA’s Office of Research and Development in 2007 as a research biologist. He received his Ph.D. in Aquatic Ecology from the University of Notre Dame where his dissertation work focused on nutrient processing and biogenic gas production in small streams. During his time with the EPA, Dr. Beaulieu has worked on a range of projects, including an assessment of nutrient retention in urban streams, the development of ecosystem scale indicators of stream health, and nitrous oxide emissions from large rivers.

  • Pathogen Treatment Guidance and Monitoring Approaches for On-Site Non-Potable Water Reuse (May 27, 2015)
    Water reuse agriculture

    Growing water scarcity has increased interest in onsite treatment of alternative waters (e.g, greywater, blackwater, rainwater, stormwater, seepage water) for non-potable uses such as toilet flushing, hosing, or irrigation. This more varied “fit-for-purpose” treatment approach to water requires a better understanding of the microbiological risks associated with on-site reuse systems and improved approaches to monitoring the efficacy of the treatment systems. This webinar presented current research at EPA in this area, including 1) a review of relevant Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) literature to identify knowledge gaps and define pathogen reduction treatment targets, and 2) development of alternative approaches for performance monitoring of treatment systems, with a focus on identification of alternative biological indicators.

    About the Presenter

    Dr. Jay GarlandJay L. Garland, Ph.D. (Contact: garland.jay@epa.gov)
    Dr. Garland joined the EPA in 2011 as a Division Director within the Office of Research and Development's National Exposure Research Laboratory. He received a Ph.D. in Environment Science from the University of Virginia and spent over 20 years working on NASA’s efforts to develop closed, bioregenerative life support systems for extended human spaceflight. NASA recognized Dr. Garland for creative technology innovation on 4 separate occasions. He has authored over 100 scientific papers on a range of topics, including methods for microbial community analysis, factors affecting survival of human associated pathogens, and various biological approaches for recycling wastes. Dr. Garland has completed visiting fellowships and professorships at the Institute for Environment Sciences in Japan, the University of Innsbruck in Austria, and the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. His work is committed to the development of sustainable systems using sound ecological principles and innovative technology.
  • Model for Investigating the Human Health Risks of Multi-Route Exposure to Bromodichloromethane, a Volatile Disinfection Byproduct that can Form During Drinking Water Treatment (April 29, 2015)
    PBMK Model elements

    During the drinking water treatment process chemicals are often used for disinfection. Sometimes these chemicals react with naturally occurring materials in the water leading to the formation of disinfection byproducts (DBP), some of which are volatile and are regulated by EPA. Bromodichloromethane (BDCM) is one of the regulated DBPs that can form and end up at consumers’ taps. When BDCM is present in drinking water, humans may be exposed though ingestion, inhalation, and absorption through skin. Epidemiology studies in humans have reported an increased risk for some cancers in people who are exposed to DBPs in water for many years. However, little is known about the internal BDCM doses a person receives from the various routes of exposure. To help determine these exposure risks, EPA researchers developed and applied a Human Physiologically-Based Pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model that can help predict how much exposure a person has had to BDCM from both drinking water and various water uses, which will allow a more complete evaluation of the potential risk of adverse health outcomes. For this presentation, Dr. Elaina Kenyon described the implications of PBPK model predictions of the internal dose of BDCM after multi-route exposures, and Dr. Rex Pegram discussed future directions for this research.

    About the Presenters

    Dr. Elaina KenyonElaina M. Kenyon, Ph.D. (Contact: kenyon.elaina@epa.gov)
    Dr. Kenyon is a research toxicologist and principle investigator within EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD), National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL). Her research interests are in the general areas of xenobiotic metabolism and disposition, in vitro to in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE) and development and evaluation of PBPK models. Since coming to EPA in 1995, her research has focused on these areas for contaminants of concern in drinking water. She received her doctorate in Public Health from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, concentrating in environmental health and biostatistics, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology. Dr. Kenyon currently serves on the Science Advisory Board for toxic air pollutants for the state of North Carolina, the Toxicology Advisory Board for the Art and Creative Materials Institute, the editorial board of the journal Toxicology, and is on the Board of Directors for the American Board of Toxicology. She is author/co-author of over 60 publications.


    Dr. Rex PegramRex Pegram, Ph.D. (Contact: pegram.rex@epa.gov)
    Dr. Pegram is a research biologist with ORD’s NHEERL, where he conducts studies addressing toxicokinetic and mechanistic issues for environmental contaminants. His present research on drinking water DBP-associated human bladder carcinogenesis combines previous experience with DBP toxicology/toxicokinetics and IVIVE. Prior to joining EPA in 1991, Dr. Pegram completed graduate work in toxicology (M.S., Ph.D.) at the University of Georgia and a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Center for Toxicology Research (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) in Arkansas.

  • The Urban Forest as Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management (March 25, 2015)
    Trees lining urban street

    Stormwater runoff is a pressing environmental problem in cities across the United States. Many green infrastructure approaches to stormwater management focus on infiltrating stormwater into the ground. Trees complement infiltrating technologies through the processes of canopy interception and evapotranspiration. Drawing from EPA's research, this webinar discussed considerations as to how the geographic distribution of urban trees influences stormwater runoff. Implications for the management of municipal street trees, environmental justice, and research challenges hindering the formal incorporation of trees into stormwater management programs were also discussed.

    About the Presenter

    Dr. Adam BerlandAdam Berland, Ph.D. (Contact: berland.adam@epa.gov)
    Dr. Berland is a National Research Council postdoctoral associate in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. He is an urban environmental geographer primarily interested in the relationships between land use and vegetation change, particularly in the urban forest. He uses field observations, geographic information systems (GIS), and computer models to understand the implications of urbanization for urban trees and attendant ecosystem services. Dr. Berland received a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Minnesota.
  • New Climate Adjustment Tool: An update to EPA's Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) (February 25, 2015)
    Screenshot of SWMM

    For this webinar, Dr. Lewis Rossman Discussed EPA’s update to its publicly available Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) to include a climate adjustment tool (CAT). SWMM, first released in 1971, models hydrology and hydraulics to simulate the movement of water through the landscape and into and through sewer systems. It has had numerous updates over the years, including the addition of a green infrastructure module in 2010 to simulate the integration of green infrastructure practices, ranging from green roofs to permeable parking lots, into a community’s stormwater management plan. SWMM is widely used throughout the world and considered the “gold standard” in the design of urban wet weather flow pollution abatement approaches, and allows users to include any combination of low impact development/green infrastructure controls to determine their effectiveness in managing stormwater and sewer overflows. The new CAT update for SWMM is a simple to use software utility that applies monthly climate adjustment factors onto historical precipitation and temperature data to consider potential impacts of future climate on stormwater. The climate scenarios are based on statistically downscaled Global Climate Model simulations that were developed for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment.

    About the Presenter

    Dr. Lewis RossmanLewis Rossman, Ph.D. (Contact: tryby.michael@epa.gov)
    Dr. Rossman worked for the EPA from 1978 until his retirement in 2014. He is the primary developer of EPANET, SWMM 5, and the National Stormwater Calculator. Dr. Rossman obtained his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. He is a past editor of the Journal of Environmental Engineering, and the recipient of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Hering Medal, EPA Silver Medal, and an Impact award. Dr. Rossman continues his association with EPA as an Emeritus Scholar.
  • Urban Soil Hydrology and Applications to Improve Demolition Practice (January 28, 2015)
    Residential Demolition Bid Specification Development Tool

    EPA's Residential Demolition Bid Specification Development Tool highlights environmental issues associated with residential demolitions and lists specific practices that can be incorporated into the demolition contracting process to achieve better environmental outcomes. The use of environmentally beneficial demolition practices can result in long- and short-term environmental benefits and set the stage for adding value to vacant lots. This presentation outlined how a focused research and development effort brought together unique data on the hydrology of urban soils with the practical matter of improving demolition practice through a novel application of green infrastructure.

    About the Presenters

    Dr. William ShusterBill Shuster, Ph.D. (Contact: shuster.william@epa.gov)
    Dr. Shuster is a research hydrologist with EPA's Office of Research and Development, National Risk Management Research Laboratory, Sustainable Technologies Division. He conducts field studies on the sustainability (social, economic, and environmental) of green infrastructure management approaches as they are applied to issues in water resources and urban land use. Dr. Shuster has a Ph.D. in Environmental Science (Ohio State University) and a B.S. in Physics (University of Michigan – Ann Arbor).  

    John GrosshansJonathan Grosshans (Contact: grosshans.jon@epa.gov)
    Jon is a Community Planner with the EPA's Region 5 Superfund Division. He manages projects that promote sustainable development by working across EPA programs and connecting with federal, state, and local partners. Current field work in Detroit ties together brownfield redevelopment, green infrastructure, and residential demolition practices.