Water Research Program Webinar Series
Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Research Program
EPA's Office of Research and Development hosts this webinar series to share current research and results. Through innovative science and engineering, EPA’s researchers are developing cost-effective, sustainable solutions to 21st century complex water issues. The scientific results and innovative technologies developed under the Safe and Sustainable WAter Resources Research Program support EPA’s mandate to protect the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of our Nation’s waters and to ensure safe drinking water and water systems.
Attendees will receive a certificate of attendance for each webinar.
2018 Schedule and Registration (Subject to change)
- May 30, 2018- Tools for Assessing Lakes and Streams: Lake-Catchment (LakeCat) and Stream-Catchment (StreamCat) Datasets
Additional information and registration coming soon.
- June 27, 2018- Microbial Source Tracking Methods and an Application for Waterborne Disease Outbreak Response
Additional information and registration coming soon.
- August 29, 2018- To be Determined
Additional information and registration coming soon.
- October 31, 2018- To be Determined
Additional information and registration coming soon.
Recordings of the 2018 webinars are available below and are being hosted on EPA's YouTube channel. Certificates cannot be offered for watching the webinar recordings.
- 28, 2018 - Village Blue Project: Real-Time Water Quality Monitoring in the Baltimore Harbor
Webinar recording coming soon.
EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) initiated the Village Blue project to increase public awareness about local water quality in the Baltimore Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay. Village Blue is a demonstration project providing real-time sensor-based water quality monitoring data to the Baltimore community and complements work already being done toward the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore's goal of making Baltimore Harbor swimmable and fishable by 2020.
The water quality monitoring data are displayed on EPA’s Village Blue monitoring application, which shows the data in a mobile- friendly, easy-to-understand format. Several local and state organizations have partnered with EPA and USGS to use the Village Blue demonstration project to help raise public awareness of water quality in the Baltimore Inner Harbor. Village Blue’s monitoring data will help close water quality information gaps and give citizens and professional scientists more data to inform communities, policies, and environmental restoration efforts.
This webinar presented the Village Blue research project and demonstrated how to access the application and explore the real-time water quality data.
About the Presenter:
firstname.lastname@example.org)Dr. Kevin Oshima (Contact:
Dr. Oshima is the Associate Director for Science with EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD)/National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL)/Environmental Methods and Measurements Division. He also served as a Branch Chief in NERL for over ten years. Prior to joining EPA, he was a professor at New Mexico State in environmental virology, a staff scientist for Pall Corporation, and he conducted fish virology research with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dr Oshima's research background has focused on public health water microbiology, methods for microbial detection in various water matricies (including molecular and culture-based methods), methods to detect pathogen exposure, and microbial fate and transport. Since joining ORD, he has been particularly active in research that supports recreational water quality criteria.
Other EPA Contributors:
- Dr. Gary Norris (Contact: email@example.com): Sensor performance, data analysis and modeling
- Dr. Alan Lindquist (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org): Sensor performance, data analysis and modeling
- Alexis Lan (Contact: email@example.com): Community outreach
- Samantha Rachko (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org): EPA Region 3 local and regional coordination of activities
- 31, 2018- National Stormwater Calculator for Managing Runoff Using Green Infrastructure: Addition of a Cost Module and a Mobile Web Application Version
Webinar recording coming soon
Stormwater discharges continue to cause impairment of our Nation’s waterbodies. Conventional stormwater infrastructure, or gray infrastructure, is largely designed to move stormwater away from urban areas through pipes and conduit. Runoff from these surfaces can overwhelm sewer systems and end up contaminating local waterways. When stormwater runs off impervious streets, parking lots, sidewalks, and rooftops, it can carry pollutants to streams, rivers, and lakes. Runoff flows can also cause erosion and flooding that can damage property, infrastructure, and wildlife habitat. In addition to runoff problems, impervious surfaces also prevent water from penetrating the soil and recharging groundwater supplies.
Green infrastructure, such as rain gardens, and porous pavement, is becoming an increasingly attractive way to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that flows into wastewater treatment plants or into waterbodies untreated, and to recharge aquifers. It provides many environmental, social, and economic benefits that promote urban livability, such as improved surface water quality, water conservation, and improved aesthetic and property value. EPA researchers have been studying green infrastructure practices and developing models and tools to help communities manage their stormwater runoff and address nutrient impairment.
EPA developed the National Stormwater Calculator (SWC) to help support local, state, and national stormwater management objectives and regulatory efforts to reduce runoff through infiltration and retention using green infrastructure practices as low impact development controls. It is designed to be used by anyone interested in reducing runoff from a property, including site developers, landscape architects, urban planners, and homeowners. It can be used for any location within the United States, including Puerto Rico. This webinar provided potential and example applications, and presented the new cost module and mobile web application version that can be used on desktops and on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
About the Presenter:
email@example.com)Jason Bernagros (Contact:
Jason is trained as a landscape architect and has been with EPA for over nine years. He has worked in EPA’s Region 2 and Office of Water, and is currently working as a biologist in ORD. His research focuses on the application of green infrastructure planning tools, urban planning and design, community capacity building with municipalities and utilities, and supporting innovative water technologies. Jason has a Master of Landscape Architecture and a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Integrated Decision Support Tool (i-DST) for Life Cycle Cost Assessment of Grey and Green Stormwater Management Infrastructure (October 25, 2017)
Planning stormwater infrastructure is difficult because proposed projects often have multiple objectives, including managing hydrology and water quality, providing communities with co-benefits, and minimizing life cycle costs that account for operation and maintenance. Traditional grey infrastructure and more natural green infrastructure are two distinct pathways of meeting these diverse objectives. Grey infrastructure typically involves greater capital investments, while green infrastructure may have more annual costs per volume of water managed. Green infrastructure can also provide societal co-benefits, such as additional urban green spaces, and improved water and air quality and public wellness. This makes deciding between implementation of grey, green, or hybrid (combination of grey and green) approaches challenging.
This presentation highlighted National Priorities grantee work on the development of a planning-level, integrated decision support tool, i-DST, which contains modules that simulate continuous runoff and water quality, using historical climate data and under different climate scenarios. The developed i-DST will also use a multiple-criteria decision analysis to optimize stormwater infrastructure based on user-defined institutional barriers, and economic, environmental, and societal objectives. Central to the estimation of economic costs is the valuation of operation and maintenance costs. An overview of the synthesis of regional green infrastructure cost and performance parameters that allow for application of the tool across the different climatic regions of the United States was also provided.
About the Presenters:
(Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)Dr. Terri S. Hogue
Dr. Hogue is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. She also serves as Director of the Hydrologic Science and Engineering graduate program. She received her PhD from the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources at the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on understanding hydrologic and land surface processes, with an emphasis on human interactions between water cycling and management. Projects include urbanization and ecosystem dynamics, wildfire impacts on water supply, and hydrologic response to climate change. Dr. Hogue is a member of the National Academies Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC) and is on the editorial board for the American Geophysical Union journal Water Resources Research.
(Contact: email@example.com)Dr. Jennifer Stokes-Draut
Dr. Stokes-Draut is a research engineer and lecturer in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at the University of California at Berkeley. Her research focuses on innovative and integrated urban water systems, specifically quantifying their economic and environmental implications and evaluating tradeoffs and synergies between different functions of these systems (water supply, wastewater services, and stormwater control) and with other sectors (e.g., energy and food). She has developed several decision-support tools to conduct LCA on water systems, including WESTWeb (available at http://west.berkeley.edu). Dr. Stokes-Draut has a BS from the Georgia Institute of Technology and MS and PhD degrees from UC Berkeley, all in Civil and Environmental Engineering.
(Contact: Stu.Geza@sdsmt.edu)Dr. Mengistu Geza
Dr. Geza is an assistant professor at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. His research focuses on improving prediction of hydrologic and contaminant fluxes for better management of water resources using combination of field, laboratory, and modeling approaches. Dr. Geza’s current projects include watershed modeling, development of decision support tools for water resource management, and grey and green infrastructures for treating stormwater in urban streams. He has several years of experience in watershed-scale modeling. His interests include hydrologic processes, climate change, water quality, and development of decision support tools to aid water resource managers in decision making. Dr. Geza’s previous research includes the integration of a regional hydrologic model and an economic optimization model for cost-effective land use decisions to reduce sediment and nutrient loading to streams. Dr Geza worked on NSF ReNUWIt (Re-Inventing the Nation's Urban Water Infrastructure) project on decision support tools to determine best alternatives for water supply, treatment, and reuse; a multidisciplinary research effort involving experts from different disciplines.
(Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)Dr. Colin D. Bell
Dr. Bell is a postdoctoral researcher at the Colorado School of Mines in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has a BS from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, an MSE from UNC Charlotte, and a PhD from Purdue University. Dr. Bell has focused his research efforts on monitoring and modeling hydro-ecological processes of urban environments. Specifically, his focus has been on exploring how stormwater management strategies effect stream hydrology, water quality, and ecosystem function. In addition to this primary research, Dr. Bell has worked to build decision support tools for both urban water managers and residents looking to minimize the impacts of urban water runoff.
- Land Use, Environmental Stressors, and Water Resources: Degradation to Restoration (August 30, 2017)
Land use and environmental stressors, such as drought and deteriorating water infrastructure, can accelerate the depletion of freshwater resources that support humans and ecosystem services. As global demand for water and environmental stressors increase, the quality and availability of freshwater will be impacted on local to global scales. Global water security must consider the interaction between land use, environmental stressors, and global water demand.
Using representative studies from around the world, plus our own body of research in human-dominated ecosystems, environmental stressors and management practices impacting global water quantity and quality were discussed. A conceptual framework for understanding and predicting global patterns of water use and water quality degradation, characterized by the increasing interaction between land use and environmental stressors was then discussed. Finally, the role of ecosystem restoration and management in securing and improving water resources and related ecosystem services was presented.
About the Presenters:
email@example.com)Dr. Paul Mayer (Contact:
Paul is a Supervisory Research Ecologist with EPA’s Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Lab in Corvallis, Oregon, where he serves as Chief of the Ecological Effects Branch supervising a team of multi-talented scientists. Paul’s research interests are in stream restoration and groundwater ecology, with a special focus on how ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure can be implemented to improve water quality. Prior to his current position, Paul spent 14 years as a research ecologist with EPA’s Ground Water and Ecosystems Restoration Lab in Ada, Oklahoma, and four years as a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Bismarck, North Dakota where he studied population biology of endangered birds. Paul received a B.S. in Zoology from North Dakota State University, a M.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Missouri, and Ph.D. in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
firstname.lastname@example.org)Dr. Tammy Newcomer Johnson (Contact:
Tammy is a Systems Ecologist with EPA’s Office of Research and Development, National Exposure Research Lab in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her research interests are in using biogeochemistry and EPA tools to understand human dominated watersheds in order to reduce stressors, such as excess nutrients and stormwater pollution, and benefit communities. Tammy was a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant Office and an ORISE postdoc with EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds. In the summer, she teaches as a Faculty Adviser at George Mason’s Washington Youth Summit on the Environment. Tammy received a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a Ph.D. in Marine Estuarine Environmental Science from the University of Maryland, College Park.
email@example.com)Dr. Sujay Kaushal (Contact:
Sujay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geology & Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center at the University of Maryland, College Park. His expertise is in biogeochemistry, hydrologic sciences, and water resources. Sujay was an assistant professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science before joining the University of Maryland in 2010. His research focuses on the interactive effects of land use and climate change, salinization and alkalinization of fresh water, urban ecology and evolution, water quality, and river restoration. Sujay completed a B.A. in Biology at Cornell University, a Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and postdoctoral research at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.
- Nonpotable Water Reuse in Urban Environments (June 21, 2017)
Introduction (Presented by Dr. Matthew Small, EPA's Region 9). Prior to the presentations, a regional perspective on the collaborative efforts between EPA and City of San Francisco will be provided.
Presentation 1—San Francisco’s Nonpotable Water Program (Presented by Paula Kehoe, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission). Onsite reuse is one solution to help communities diversify water supplies as traditional supplies face challenges from issues such as drought and flooding. In 2012, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) launched their Nonpotable Water Program, which streamlined the regulatory process for buildings to install onsite nonpotable water systems to produce nonpotable water for toilet flushing and irrigation. Since 2014, SFPUC has been leading a national effort, in partnership with public health regulators, water and wastewater utilities, and research foundations, to address appropriate public health standards and consistent regulatory approaches for onsite water nonpotable systems.
Presentation 2—EPA's Research to Support Decentralized Nonpotable Water Systems (Presented by Dr. Jay Garland, EPA's Office of Research and Development). As the reuse of alternative water sources continues to gain popularity, public utilities and other stakeholders are seeking guidance on pathogen treatment requirements and monitoring approaches for nonpotable use of onsite collected water (e.g., combined wastewater, graywater, stormwater, and roof runoff). This talk presented risk-based pathogen log reduction requirements for various types of onsite collected wastewaters used for a range of nonpotable uses. In addition, approaches for monitoring treatment performance for pathogen were discussed, emphasizing the limitation of traditional fecal indicators and the potential use of more commonly occurring and abundant microorganisms as process indicators.
About the Presenters:
firstname.lastname@example.org)Matthew Small, Ph.D., P.G. (Contact:
Dr. Small is the Regional Science Liaison (RSL) for EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) in EPA Region 9 (R9), San Francisco, California. As an RSL, Matt works to facilitate communication, collaboration, and technical support between ORD and R9. Matt is also one of the R9’s hydrogeologists, and led the effort to create national directives for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response and ASTM standards for remediation by natural attenuation and risk-based corrective action for petroleum hydrocarbons. During five years in private consulting prior to joining EPA, he assessed and remediated volatile organic compound contaminated sites in the San Francisco Bay Area. Matt has a B.S. in Geology from California State University Hayward and a M. Eng. in Mineral Engineering and a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a Licensed Professional Geologist in the State of California.
email@example.com)Paula Kehoe (Contact:
Paula is the Director of Water Resources with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. She is responsible for diversifying San Francisco’s local water supply portfolio through the development and implementation of conservation, groundwater, and recycled water programs.
firstname.lastname@example.org)Jay Garland, Ph.D. (Contact:
Dr. Garland joined EPA in 2011 as a Division Director with EPA’s Office of Research and Development, 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.
- EPA's Global Change Explorer Web Tools Collection (May 31, 2017)
EPA's Global Change Explorer is a collection of web tools that allow visualization, comparison, and access to spatial data that describe potential future environmental change. These data can serve as a starting point to assess the vulnerability of air, water, ecosystems, and human health to climate change, land use change, and other large-scale environmental stressors. The data and tools in the Global Change Explorer are relevant across multiple scientific disciplines and environmental media, providing a foundation for integrated assessments of global change. The three web tools that comprise the Global Change Explorer were presented.
About the Tools and Presenters:
1. Land Use. EPA's Integrated Climate and Land Use Scenarios (ICLUS) project developed scenarios of future human population, housing density, and impervious surface for the contiguous United States. These scenarios are broadly consistent with peer-reviewed storylines of population growth and economic development, now widely used by the climate change impacts community. The ICLUS project produced high-resolution spatial data for vulnerability and impacts assessments that integrate both climate and land use changes.
email@example.com)Presented by Phil Morefield (Contact:
Phil Morefield is a geographer with EPA's Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Assessment. His research projects focus on the development of models and tools that help us understand the potential impacts of global change, especially the interactions of demographic, land use, and climate change.
2. Watersheds. EPA's Watersheds modeling project provides simulated changes in streamflow, nutrient, and sediment loads in 19 large U.S. drainage basins under different scenarios of mid-21st century climate change and urban development. The watersheds used in the study represent a range of geographic, hydrologic, and climatic conditions.
firstname.lastname@example.org)Presented by Dr. Thomas Johnson (Contact:
Tom is a hydrologist with EPA’s Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Assessment. His technical interests include the interaction of hydrologic and ecological systems, and watershed management including climate and land use change effects on water and watershed systems. Prior to joining EPA, he held positions with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, and was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow in Washington, DC.
3. Deposition. EPA's Critical Loads Mapper Tool enables decision makers, researchers, and the public to easily access information on atmospheric deposition of nitrogen and sulfur, critical loads, and their exceedances to better understand local and regional vulnerability to atmospheric pollution. This interactive mapping tool displays nitrogen and sulfur deposition levels through time for several air quality models, critical load levels for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the National Critical Loads Database, and the exceedance of deposition over the critical loads as an estimate of vulnerability to air pollution.
email@example.com)Presented by Dr. Christopher M. Clark (Contact:
Chris is a terrestrial ecologist with EPA's Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Assessment. His technical training and interests include biogeochemical cycling, statistics, community and ecosystem ecology, impacts from climate change and atmospheric deposition of nitrogen and sulfur on ecosystems, hydraulic fracturing, and the sustainability of biofuel production and supply chains. Prior to joining the EPA in 2011 he was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow in Washington, DC.
- Upcoming Research on the Impacts of Water Conservation on Water Quality in Premise Plumbing (March 29, 2017)
Ever wonder how water quality is impacted under low flow conditions in buildings and distribution systems? The recent use of low-flow plumbing fixtures such as faucets, toilets, and showerheads has resulted in waterborne disease outbreaks and other water quality problems in building plumbing (premise plumbing) systems. This webinar from two recently awarded National Priorities grantees described upcoming research and new science on the impacts of water conservation on water quality in premise plumbing systems. The projects are intended to inform how to better design, renovate, and manage building drinking water systems so that water can be delivered efficiently while protecting public health.
Agenda and Presenters:
Water Conservation and Water Quality: Understanding the Impacts of New Technologies and New Operational Strategies
1. Project Team and Scope of Work—Patrick Gurian, lead principal investigator (PI) working to improve water quality in buildings, described the experience of team members and their role in synthesizing knowledge and identifying strategies to protect human health. The presentation cover the initial scope of work, including key informant interviews and case studies of how water conservation affects water quality in buildings. Information derived from the eventual development of a meta-analysis of the literature will be used to inform a decision support tool for building water management..
Presented by Dr. Patrick Gurian, Drexel University
Dr. Gurian is an associate professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering at Drexel University. His research involves the application of mathematical models to evaluate alternative regulatory frameworks and resource management strategies.
2. Experimental Component and Engagement with the Drinking Water Community—Sheldon Masters, co-PI for the effort, discussed the experimental approach supporting development of the decision support tool. The phases of experiments include bench-scale experiments; experiments investigating on opportunistic pathogen growth; DBP formation potential and energy efficiency; and examination of the impact of pipe materials, water use pattern and water chemistry on pathogen growth and DBP formation using pipe racks.
Presented by Dr. Sheldon Masters, Environmental Science, Policy and Research Institute and Corona Environmental Engineering
Dr. Masters is a Research Engineer at the Environmental Science, Policy and Research Institute and an Environmental Engineer at Corona Environmental Engineering. His work involves field investigations of chemical and microbial contamination in drinking water distribution systems and premise plumbing. Sheldon earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech and a B.A. in Mathematics from The College of Wooster.
Right Sizing Tomorrow’s Water Systems for Efficiency, Sustainability, and Public Health
3. Working Towards Safer Drinking Water at Home, Work, and School: Research to Improve Plumbing Safety—To better understand how unsafe drinking water can occur in buildings, the Purdue research team is developing integrated water quality models and identifying piping network design and operational conditions that can decrease health risks. Andy Whelton, lead PI on this grant, described the project goals and objectives, ultimately leading to a risk based decision support tool for building plumbing systems. He also described the wide variety of industrial partners and stakeholders supporting the project and the various roles and backgrounds for the joint Purdue/Michigan State/San Jose State research team.
Presented by Dr. Andrew J. Whelton, Purdue University
Dr. Whelton has 15 years of experience as an environmental engineer and is an assistant professor of Purdue University’s Lyles School of Civil Engineering, Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering. His research efforts have concentrated on the interface of technology, the environment, and public health. He earned a B.S.in Civil Engineering, an M.S. in Environmental Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech.
4. Yesterday’s Demand, Tomorrow’s Water Systems: Adjusting to Normals—As water fixtures, appliances, and water-use practices have become more efficient, aggregate and per-capita usage has declined. Systems serving legacy cities have seen further declines in the wake of lost economic activity and populations. Due to these and other factors, existing water utility and premise plumbing systems may be oversized relative to needs and pose potential health risks associated with stagnant water. Dr. Beecher eviewed the planned approach to analyzing and summarizing these trends for the purposes of this study.
Presented by Dr. Janice Beecher, Institute of Public Utilities at Michigan State University
Dr. Janice Beecher has served as Director of the Institute of Public Utilities at Michigan State University since 2002. Her areas of interest include regulatory institutions, governance, and pricing, and she specializes in the water sector. She is presently serving on EPA’s Environmental Finance Advisory Board and recently completed service on Michigan’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission. She has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University and faculty appointments in MSU’s College of Social Science, where she has taught graduate courses in public policy and regulation.
5. Water Microbiology Associated with Plumbing and Health Risks—Water conservation can lead to low flows and increased water age in distribution systems and premise plumbing. The reduced chlorine residual over time can subsequently allow for microbial growth in drinking water and biofilms along the piping materials. Additionally, organic carbon from certain types of pipes may provide nutrients for increased growth. Dr. Mitchell reviewed how the synergy among these events contribute to microbial risks, especially those produced by opportunistic pathogens.
Presented by Dr. Jade Mitchell, Michigan State University
Dr. Jade Mitchell is an assistant professor in the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department at Michigan State University. Her research broadly focuses on applications of quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) to water quality, food safety and other environmental exposure pathways. Dr. Mitchell obtained a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from University of Pittsburgh, and an M.S. in Civil Engineering and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Drexel University.
- Rapid Benefit Indicators Approach: A Process for Assessing the Social Benefits of Ecological Restoration (February 22, 2017)
Ecological restoration can reestablish ecosystem services that provide important social benefits. Also, managers with limited funds and resources often need to prioritize potential restoration sites for implementation. Prioritizing restoration sites based on ecological functioning and expected ecosystem services production alone neglects vital information for evaluating tradeoffs—for example, determining who benefits from the resulting ecosystem services and by how much. The EPA developed Rapid Benefit Indicators (RBI) approach is an easy-to-use process for assessing restoration sites using non-monetary benefit indicators. The RBI approach uses readily-available data to estimate and quantify benefits to people around an ecological restoration site using ecosystem service benefit indicators based on economic principles. The framework uses five questions to guide the process of indicator selection and measurement:
- Can people benefit from an ecosystem service?
- How many people benefit?
- How much are people likely to benefit?
- What are the social equity implications?
- How reliable are benefits expected to be over time?
This webinar presented the RBI approach and its application to wetland restoration using an example application to freshwater wetland restoration in the Woonasquatucket River Watershed in Rhode Island. The RBI approach, its guidebook, and companion tools were described. The companion spreadsheet checklist tool, which provides a way to record benefit indicator information to compare sites, was demonstrated.
About the Presenters
Dr. Marisa Mazzotta - Dr. Mazzotta is an Environmental Economist with EPA’s Office of Research and Development’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory-Atlantic Ecology Division. Her research has focused on non-market valuation of natural resources and environmental amenities, coastal, estuarine and marine ecosystem management, natural resource damage assessment, benefit-cost analysis, analysis of natural resource restoration, and interdisciplinary approaches to valuation of ecosystem services. Dr. Mazzotta is currently working on projects that are evaluating benefits of water quality improvements in coastal watersheds. Before coming to EPA, she conducted numerous policy and regulatory analyses as a consultant to government agencies and non-governmental organizations, and as an expert in litigation support, and has been a research and adjunct faculty member at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Mazzotta received her Master's and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Rhode Island, and her Bachelor's degree from Brown University.
Justin Bousquin - Justin is a Social Scientist with EPA’s Office of Research and Development (EPA-ORD). His research combines economics and ecology to develop approaches and spatial tools that inform environmental decision making.
- Systems View of Nutrient Management: Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine (December 14, 2016)
Urine is the primary source of phosphorus and nitrogen in municipal wastewater. Accordingly, it is important to consider for nutrient management. This webinar covered new science on recovering nutrients from human urine. This included issues of source separation in buildings, use at the farm, review of health issues, and factors influencing the environmental sustainability of nutrient management strategies. This webinar is an output of preliminary scientific research and demonstrations achieved from the Centers for Water Research on National Priorities Related to a Systems View of Nutrient Management, which were funded by EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants.
Agenda and Presenters
1. Introduction—A brief introduction on the topic will be provided.
Presented by Dr. Colleen Naughton, University of South Florida, National Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management
Dr. Naughton is a postdoctoral research associate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida where she also serves as the administrative assistant for the National Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management. Her research is focused around the food-water-energy nexus and coupling natural and human systems, integrating environmental sustainability and ethnographic analyses with local and global issues of sustainable development.
2. Building—Waterless urinals can serve a two-fold benefit of water conservation and implementation of urine source separation system. However, due to urine’s composition and the presence of the urease enzyme that hydrolyzes urea, valuable nutrients readily precipitate in the urinal fixtures and pipes. This hinders both water conservation and nutrient recovery efforts because of maintenance problems. This presentation reviewed controlled laboratory experiments and a demonstration study that increases our understanding of the urea hydrolysis process in waterless urinals by mimicking and inhibiting urea hydrolysis so as to benefit water conservation and nutrient recovery.
Presented by Dr. Treavor Boyer, Arizona State University, National Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management
Dr. Boyer is an associate professor on the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University. Before joining ASU, he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences at the University of Florida. His research is broadly focused on water sustainability, and spans drinking water and wastewater treatment, and natural aquatic systems.
3. Environmental Sustainability—Nutrients embedded in wastewater or stormwater can be managed via different technologies at different scales. The factors influencing environmental sustainability of nutrient management strategies, including end applications, design configurations, implementation locations, and scale of implementations w discussed.
Presented by Dr. Qiong Zhang, University of South Florida, National Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management
Dr. Zhang is an associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida. Prior to joining USF, she worked as the operations manager for the Sustainable Futures Institute at Michigan Tech. She has sponsored research projects in the areas of green engineering and sustainability, life cycle assessment, waste-based resource recovery, system modeling of environmental technology adoption and critical infrastructures resiliency, and carbon footprint accounting of water and wastewater technologies and strategies.
4. Health—Source separated urine typically contains pharmaceuticals and microorganisms. A review of the occurrence of pharmaceuticals and microorganisms in source separated urine as it is transformed into fertilizer products was provided. The impact of storage, struvite precipitation, and pasteurization on the levels and types of contaminants in urine has been studied.
Presented by Dr. Krista Wigginton, University of Michigan, WE&RF's National Research Center for Resource Recovery and Nutrient Management
Dr. Wigginton is an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the faculty at UM, she was an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focuses on applications of environmental biotechnology in drinking water and wastewater treatment. In particular, her research group develops new methods to detect and analyze the fate of emerging pollutants in the environment.
5. Farm—Source separated urine has been shown to work well as a crop fertilizer. Work on applying urine-derived fertilizer products to grow crops on a research farm in Vermont was discussed. Urine was collected from public toilets (>1,000 users) and turned into fertilizer. Lettuce and carrots were grown over two seasons in test field plots amended with urine, urine spiked with additional pharmaceuticals, urine-derived struvite, and synthetic fertilizer.
Presented by Abraham Noe-Hays, Rich Earth Institute, WE&RF's National Research Center for Resource Recovery and Nutrient Management
Mr. Noe-Hays is a founder of the Rich Earth Institute and has been working with dry sanitation systems since 1990. He holds a BA in Human Ecology with concentrations in agroecology and compost science from the College of the Atlantic, where his interest in recycling human manure led to an internship at Woods End Research Laboratory and his thesis project, “An Experiment in Thermophilic Composting.”
- Toolkit of Available EPA Green Infrastructure Modeling Software (October 26, 2016)
Stormwater discharges continue to cause impairment of our Nation’s waterbodies. Conventional stormwater infrastructure, or gray infrastructure, is largely designed to move stormwater away from urban areas through pipes and conduit. Runoff from these surfaces can overwhelm sewer systems and end up contaminating local waterways. When stormwater runs off impervious streets, parking lots, sidewalks, and rooftops, it carries pollutants, such as motor oil, lawn chemicals, sediments, and pet waste to streams, rivers, and lakes. Runoff flows can also cause erosion and flooding that can damage property, infrastructure, and wildlife habitat. In addition to runoff problems, impervious surfaces also prevent water from penetrating the soil and recharging groundwater supplies.
Green infrastructure (e.g., rain gardens, green roofs, porous pavement, cisterns) is becoming an increasingly attractive way to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that flows into wastewater treatment plants or into waterbodies untreated, and to recharge aquifers. It provides many environmental, social, and economic benefits that promote urban livability, such as improved surface water quality, water conservation, and improved aesthetic and property value. Green infrastructure is also incorporated into municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater permits for retention requirements for various states across the Nation. EPA researchers in the Office of Research and Development (ORD) have been studying green infrastructure practices and developing models and tools to help communities manage their stormwater runoff and address nutrient impairment. This webinar presented a toolkit consisting of five EPA green infrastructure models and tools, along with communication material, that can be used as a teaching tool and as a quick reference resource for use by planners and developers when making green infrastructure implementation decisions, and can also be used for low impact development design competitions. The models and tools included are the Green Infrastructure Wizard (GIWiz), Watershed Management Optimization Support Tool (WMOST), the Visualizing Ecosystem Land Management Assessments (VELMA) Model, the Storm Water Management Model (SWMM), and the National Stormwater Calculator (SWC).
About the Models/Tools and Presenters:
1. Green Infrastructure Wizard (GIWiz)—GIWiz is an interactive web application that provides users with customized reports containing the EPA tools and resources they select, direct links, and overview information about each.
firstname.lastname@example.org)Presented by Dr. Marilyn Tenbrink (Contact:
Dr. Marilyn Tenbrink is a Special Assistant to the Director of the Atlantic Ecology Division (AED) of EPA's National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL) in Narragansett, Rhode Island. She received her Ph.D. in Environmental Geochemistry from Columbia University, New York, and has over 35 years of research experience on pollutant distribution, impacts, and management for aquatic systems. Marilyn is currently leading an interdisciplinary group of scientists to develop tools, including GiWIZ, that enable communities to better utilize Green Infrastructure approaches and improve sustainability.
2. Watershed Management Optimization Support Tool (WMOST)—WMOST is a software application designed to facilitate integrated water resources management across wet and dry climate regions. It allows water resources managers and planners to screen a wide range of practices across their watershed or jurisdiction for cost-effectiveness and environmental and economic sustainability. WMOST allows users to select up to fifteen stormwater management practices, including traditional grey infrastructure, green infrastructure, and other low impact development practices.
email@example.com)Presented by Dr. Naomi Detenbeck (Contact:
Dr. Naomi Detenbeck is an ecologist in NHEERL AED in Narragansett, RI, with an adjunct faculty appointment in Natural Resources Science at the University of Rhode Island. Her current research is focused on the watershed-scale effects of natural and constructed green infrastructure, development of decision-support tools for integrated water resources management, such as WMOST, and development of EPA’s Estuary Data Mapper. Naomi’s past research has included work on biogeochemistry, wetlands, landscape ecology, nutrient criteria development, and watershed classification. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Minnesota.
3. Visualizing Ecosystems for Land Management Assessment (VELMA) Model—VELMA is a computer software model that regional planners and land managers can use to quantify the effectiveness of natural and engineered green infrastructure management practices for reducing nonpoint sources of nutrients and contaminants in streams, estuaries, and groundwater. These practices include riparian buffers, cover crops, and constructed wetlands.
firstname.lastname@example.org)Presented by Dr. Bob McKane (Contact:
Dr. Bob McKane is a Research Ecologist with NHEERL’s Western Ecology Division in Corvallis, Oregon. He received his Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Minnesota, and has over 25 years of experience in the use of simulation models for analyzing effects of climate, soils, and land use on biogeochemical and hydrological processes. Bob is currently leading an interdisciplinary group of scientists to develop and apply the VELMA ecohydrology model, which is currently being used by EPA’s ORD and Regions 7 and 10, tribes, and community groups to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative green infrastructure scenarios for improving water quality and ecosystem service co-benefits.
4. Storm Water Management Model (SWMM)—SWMM is a software application that is used widely throughout the world for large-scale planning, analysis, and design related to stormwater runoff, combined and sanitary sewers, and other drainage systems in urban areas – although there are many applications for drainage systems in non-urban areas as well. It allows users to represent combinations of green infrastructure practices to determine their effectiveness in managing runoff. SWMM was developed to help support local, state, and national stormwater management objectives to reduce runoff through infiltration and retention.
email@example.com)Presented by Dr. Michael Tryby (Contact:
Dr. Michael Tryby joined the Water Supply and Water Resources Division in EPA's National Risk Management Research Laboratory located in Cincinnati, Ohio in September 2011. He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Cincinnati, where he worked on drinking water treatment for disinfection byproduct control and systems analysis of water distribution system disinfection practices. Michael received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University while working in commercial software development as a water distribution modeling domain expert. His immediate responsibilities include work on modeling green infrastructure and low impact development best management practices using EPA’s SWMM 5.0.
5. National Stormwater Calculator (SWC)—SWC is a desktop application that estimates the annual amount of stormwater runoff from a specific location in the United States (including Puerto Rico), based on local soil conditions, land cover, and historic rainfall records. It is used to inform site developers on how well they can meet a desired stormwater retention target with and without the use of green infrastructure. It also allows users to consider how runoff may vary based both on historical weather and potential future climate. SWC is a resource for all Rainwater Management Credits in LEED by the U.S. Green Building Council for all project types in all rating systems.
firstname.lastname@example.org)Presented by Jason Berner (Contact:
Jason Berner is trained as a landscape architect and has been with EPA for over nine years. He has worked in EPA’s Region 2 and Office of Water, and is currently working as a biologist in ORD. His research focuses on the application of green infrastructure planning tools, urban planning and design, community capacity building with municipalities and utilities, and supporting innovative water technologies. Jason has a Master of Landscape Architecture and a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Valuing Ecosystem Services Generated by Nutrient Reductions - A Spatial Approach (August 31, 2016)
Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) aimed at reducing nutrient and sediment loads play an important role in meeting goals to restore ecosystem function in the Chesapeake Bay. However, those BMPs also affect water quality in contributing rivers. As part of the Penn State Center for Nutrient Solutions, we have developed a spatial model of ecosystem services generated by the water quality improvements in rivers and streams contributing to the Chesapeake Bay that result from BMPs applied to agricultural lands. This model accounts for where the BMPs are situated, the impact they have on the immediate watershed, and the impact reduced loadings have on downstream rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. The model also accounts for where people are located relative to the improved water bodies, and the resulting ecosystem services they enjoy. The model can serve as a prototype for a BENMAP-type tool applied to surface water.
About the Presenter
email@example.com)Richard Ready, Ph.D. (Contact:
Dr. Ready is Professor of Environmental Economics at Montana State University, and Associate Director of the Montana Institute on Ecosystems. His research focuses on measuring and valuing ecosystem services affected by environmental policies and natural resource use. He received his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from University of Wisconsin. Dr. Ready has served on the editorial board of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Land Economics, and currently serves on the EPA Science Advisory Board Environmental Economics Advisory Committee. He is also associated with the Pennsylvania State University Center for Integrated Multi-scale Nutrient Pollution Solutions, which is one of four center grants awarded in 2013 under EPA’s National Priorities grant program.
- Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) in Source and Treated Drinking Water (June 29, 2016)
Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) is a term which encompasses a vast array of chemicals such as pharmaceuticals, perfluoroalkyl substances, and surfactants, as well as microorganisms such as Mycobacteria and Legionella. These contaminants end up entering the water cycle, either through municipal or household use (entering the grey water), or excretion (entering the black water). CECs can survive wastewater treatment, and end up in surface waters, along with other contaminants which may run off of the land into the watershed. This water can be the drinking water source for a downstream community. Scientists from EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey have collaborated on a study examining the occurrence of CECs both in source water and treated drinking water from drinking water treatment plants from across the United States. This presentation discussed the occurrences of the chemical and microbial contaminants measured in the study, and examined the implications for aquatic life and human health.
About the Presenter
firstname.lastname@example.org)Susan Glassmeyer, Ph.D. (Contact:
Dr. Glassmeyer is a research chemist in EPA/ORD’s National Exposure Research Laboratory, where her research is focused on both chemical and microbial CECs in the water cycle. She has coordinated several projects examining the occurrence, fate and transport of CECs in wastewater, surface water, ground water, and drinking water. Dr. Glassmeyer earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Xavier University, and a M.S. in Environmental Science and a Ph.D. from Indiana University.
- Assessment of Major Ion Effects on Aquatic Organisms (April 27, 2016)
Natural geochemical weathering introduces several inorganic ions to natural waters, primarily Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Cl-, SO42-, and HCO3-/CO32-. These ions not only define the basic chemistry of surface waters, but they also have physiological roles and are actively regulated by aquatic organisms. However, several land uses, including energy and mineral extraction, can increase concentrations of these geochemical ions to concentrations that pose ecological risks, either through direct discharge of process or waste waters, of by accelerating geochemical weathering. The ecological effects of increased ion concentrations are being explored through several inter-related research efforts that span levels of biological organization from physiological through field community levels. Research to date demonstrates that these effects are dependent on both the specific ions that are elevated, and on the background composition of the receiving water. This webinar provided an overview of EPA’s research in this area, and some of the implications for predicting ecological risks and informing management decisions.
About the Presenter
email@example.com)David Mount, Ph.D. (Contact:
Dr. David Mount joined EPA’s Office of Research and Development as a research aquatic biologist in 1995. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming in 1987, where his dissertation focused on the effects of surface water acidification on the reproductive physiology of fish. Prior to joining EPA, Dave worked for five years in the private sector and two years conducting research for the Department of the Interior. Dave’s research has covered a variety of topics in environmental toxicology, including the bioavailability of environmental contaminants, methods to test and evaluate sediment contamination, assessing and modeling effects of chemical mixtures, and the effects of dietary exposure to contaminants. He often provides technical advice to EPA Regional and Program Office staff, particularly in areas of water quality criteria, toxicity test methods, and ecological risk assessment under the Superfund, RCRA, and FIFRA programs.
- Financing Opportunities for Implementing Green Infrastructure Projects to Manage Stormwater (February 24, 2016)
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 provided an overview of work done around the country that enables the utilization of public and private funding sources to implement green infrastructure 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 was also provided.
Presentation 2—(Presented by Holly Galavotti, EPA's Office of Wastewater Management). This presentation provided 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 was also 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 PresentersJoshua Kurtz (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.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.
email@example.com)Holly Galavotti (Contact:
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.