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Water Research Webinar Series

Free webinars typically held every other month from 2:00-3:00 pm ET.
EPA's Office of Research and Development hosts this webinar series to share current research activities 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 support EPA’s mandate to protect the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of our Nation’s water resources, and to ensure safe drinking water and water systems.

NOTE: Attendees have the option of receiving a certificate of attendance. Acceptance of certificates is contingent on organization requirements—EPA cannot guarantee acceptance. Closed-captioned recordings of the webinars are provided below for later viewing and as a training resource; certificates cannot be provided for viewing webinar recordings. Webinar dates and topics are subject to change.

May 27, 2020 COVID-19 Research Webinar

Covid-19 VirusEPA Expands Research on COVID-19 in the Environment

Learn more and register for the webinar

Join us for a special highlight webinar as part of the Homeland Security Research Webinar Series to hear from our scientists about how EPA is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expand research on COVID-19 in the environment. Among other projects to be presented, the webinar will include information from EPA researchers studying whether SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in wastewater.

2020-2021 Webinar Schedule

EPA water researchers at work

Date Topic and Presenter(s)
June 24, 2020 Water Reuse for Agricultural Purposes
Presenters: Jay Gan, U. of California Riverside; and Helen Nguyen, U. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
August 26, 2020 Wildfires and Resulting Impacts to Water Bodies Used as Drinking Water Sources
Presenters: The Water Research Foundation and Clemson University, National Priorities grantees
October 28, 2020 Health Effects Associated with Harmful Algal Blooms and Algal Toxins
Presenter: Betsy Hilborn, EPA's Office of Research and Development
November 18, 2020 Property Values and Water Quality: Supporting Decisions with the Hedonic Model
Presenters: Matt Heberling and Mike Papenfus, EPA's Office of Research and Development
January 27, 2021 Disinfection Byproducts Formation Tools for Drinking Water Utilities
Presenter: David Wahman, EPA's Office of Research and Development
March 31, 2021 Fit-for-Purpose Water Updates and Life Cycle Comparisons of Non-Potable Water Reuse Scenarios
Presenter: Jay Garland, EPA's Office of Research and Development

Past Webinar Recordings

  • Water Treatment Modeling Tools for Removing PFAS and Other Contaminants (April 29, 2020)

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    Glass being filled with water

    Even though carbon adsorption can be an effective treatment technology for removing organic compounds, such as PFAS, from water, it can be expensive or may not achieve desired removal objectives if improperly designed. Proper full-scale design of this adsorption process typically results from carefully controlled pilot-scale studies that are used to determine important design variables, such as the type of adsorbent, empty bed contact time, and bed configuration. However, these studies can be time consuming and expensive if they are not properly planned. To meet the need for planning effective studies and to help alleviate expense, EPA has signed an agreement with Michigan Technological University to make a series of adsorption models available to the public at no cost.

    This webinar provided an overview of the series of adsorption models, along with examples of how they can be used to help design pilot treatment systems and provide a first-cut prediction of full-scale results. The information generated from the models will provide states and utilities with a better understanding of the fundamentals of carbon adsorption and what that means to the operation, performance, and costs associated with this technology.

    Tom SpethPresented by Thomas F. Speth, Ph.D. (speth.thomas@epa.gov). Tom is the Associate Director for Science for EPA’s Office of Research and Development, Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response, where he is leading efforts on PFAS, lead, and small water systems. He is a professional engineer who has worked in the field of water treatment research at EPA since 1986. Over his career, Tom has been active in numerous organizations, including the American Water Works Association and the Water Research Foundation where he has served as Trustee, Chair, and EPA Liaison on numerous divisions, committees, and advisory boards.

  • Research to Support and Implement Recreational Water Quality Criteria (February 26, 2020)

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    Child walking along beach with seagullsIn 2012, EPA issued current recreational water quality criteria (RWQC) recommendations for ambient waters, reflecting the latest scientific knowledge, public comments, and external peer review. The criteria are designed to protect the public from exposure to harmful levels of pathogens in all water bodies designated for primary contact recreational uses, such as swimming, wading, and surfing. Low concentrations of human pathogens in ambient waters, most of which originate from fecal sources, are often difficult to detect but can result in elevated risks of human illness while recreating.

    To help reduce health risks associated with exposure to fecal contaminants in recreational waters, scientists in EPA's Office of Research and Development are conducting research studies to strengthen the scientific basis of existing―or to advance new―fecal contaminant detection methods, source tracking, predictive tools, and health effects assessments that support human health RWQC recommendations.

    This webinar provided an overview of EPA’s fresh and marine waters research related to 1) human health risks associated with fecal indicator and pathogen measurements, 2) fecal indicator and pathogen method development to support RWQC applications through laboratory and field testing/case studies, and 3) predictive modeling for fecal indicators and pathogens to support RWQC development through laboratory and field studies. EPA’s research activities related to the development and implementation of quantitative human-associated microbial source tracking technologies, including the public release of draft EPA Methods 1696/1697 and the development of virus-based crAssphage methods, was also discussed. Additional information about this research.

    About the Presenters:

    Dr. Kevin OshimaKevin Oshima, Ph.D. (Contact: oshima.kevin@epa.gov) Dr. Oshima is the Director of the Watershed and Ecosystem Characterization Division with EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD), Center for Environmental Measurements and Modeling (CEMM). He also served as a Branch Chief in ORD for over ten years. Prior to joining EPA, Dr. Oshima 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. Since joining ORD, he has been particularly active in research that supports AWQC.

     
     

    Dr. Orin C. ShanksOrin C. Shanks, Ph.D. (Contact: shanks.orin@epa.gov) Dr. Shanks is a senior research scientist with EPA's ORD, CEMM. His primary research is the development, validation, and implementation of molecular technologies for environmental water quality management. Over the years, he has investigated the identification of host-associated genetic markers of fecal pollution, fate and transport of nucleic acids, utility of molecular methods for water quality monitoring, and has developed quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods. Dr. Shanks received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Wyoming and his Ph.D. from Oregon State University.

  • Geospatial Patterns of Antimicrobial Resistance Genes in U.S. Rivers and Streams (September 18, 2019)

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    Map of US NRSAThe overuse of antimicrobials poses a serious threat to public health by promoting the development of antimicrobial resistance in humans, animals, and the environment. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)* , two million individuals are infected with antimicrobial resistant bacteria each year in the U.S., resulting in 23,000 deaths; however, little is known regarding the role the environment plays in the transmission of these microorganisms. Environmental exposure risks are likely to be greater in water bodies receiving discharge from human sewage systems and animal feed operations than in relatively pristine aquatic environments.

    This webinar presented how a stratified, probabilistic survey—National Rivers and Streams Assessment (NRSA)— was used to determine the national geospatial patterns of several antimicrobial resistance genes present in U.S. waters. NRSA is part of the National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS), which are collaborative programs between EPA, states, and tribes designed to assess the quality of the nation's coastal waters, lakes and reservoirs, rivers and streams, and wetlands using a statistical survey design.

    *CDC Report: Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013

    About the Presenter:

    Image of Dr. Scott KeelyScott Keely, Ph.D. (Contact:keely.scott@epa.gov)
    Dr. Scott Keely is a microbiologist with EPA’s Office of Research and Development. His primary research involves bioinformatic analysis of next-generation nucleic acid sequences from environmental and gut microbiomes and human microbial pathogens, such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and respiratory/enteric viruses. In addition to NARS, Scott's research also includes the development of novel indicators for treatment efficacy in water reuse. Scott received his Ph.D. in molecular genetics from the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine.

  • Early Detection of Algal Blooms in U.S. Freshwater Systems: CyAN Mobile App (July 24, 2019)

    Download the CyAN app

    CyAN App logo

    Want to follow along on your Android device during the step-by-step training? Download CyAN app today.

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    Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (HABs), which can appear in water bodies across the country, are an indicator of poor water quality and can potentially cause serious environmental and human and aquatic health effects. Historically, monitoring these HABs has been labor intensive and limited due to cost, time, and logistical constraints. EPA developed the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network Mobile Application (CyAN app) to help local and state water quality managers make faster and better-informed management decisions related to cyanobacterial blooms. It provides an easy to use, customizable interface for accessing algal bloom satellite data for over 2,000 of the largest lakes and reservoirs in the United States.

    CyAN app is free and available for download on Google Play™. It is designed for use on Android™ devices and is compatible with versions 4.2-9.0 (API levels 18-26). It is currently being developed as a web-based app, which will be compatible with most devices.

    1. Overview Presentation and Q&A Session (2:00-2:30 pm ET). This portion of the webinar provided a general overview of the app including what it is used for, why and how it was developed, and who it was designed for, as well as state case studies from their beta testing of the CyAN app. The research that led to the development of the app was conducted in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) through the CyAN Project.

    2. Step-by-Step Training and Q&A Session (2:30-3:30 pm ET). The second half of the webinar was a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the CyAN app. We will walk through example scenarios and show you how to make fast and efficient initial assessments across water bodies that are roughly one square kilometer or greater. Attendees learned how to view cyanobacteria concentrations on a national-scale or zoom in to see data for a specific lake or reservoir, how to set queries to determine if blooms exceed your set limits, how to compare multiple water bodies at once, and how to use other functions in the app.
     

    About the Presenters:

    Dr. Blake SchaefferBlake A. Schaeffer, Ph.D. (Contact: schaeffer.blake@epa.gov)
    Blake is a physical scientist with EPA's Office of Research and Development, National Exposure Research Laboratory in Durham, North Carolina. His research focus is on the use of satellite remote sensing technology to monitor water quality in coasts, estuaries, and lakes. Blake's interests generally include integrating remote sensing technologies into water quality management frameworks.

    Dr. Robyn ConmyRobyn Conmy, Ph.D. (Contact: conmy.robyn@epa.gov)
    Robyn is a research ecologist with EPA's Office of Research and Development, National Risk Management Research Laboratory in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her research is dedicated to characterizing optical properties of organic matter in water bodies and discerning their impact to water quality conditions. Robyn's research interests include carbon biogeochemical cycling, optical tracking tools (in-situ and satellite remote sensing), landscape-watershed interactions, crude oil fate and transport, light attenuation in water, and surface-groundwater interactions.

    Dr. John M. JohnstonJohn M. Johnston, Ph.D. (Contact: johnston.johnM@epa.gov)
    John is a supervisory research ecologist with EPA's Office of Research and Development, National Exposure Research Laboratory in Athens, Georgia. His research focus is on water quality monitoring and modeling to forecast ecosystem services and their influence on human health. John's interests include life cycle impact assessment, remote sensing, spatial modeling, and sustainability analysis.

    Note: This webinar is a joint webinar between EPA's Water Research Webinar Series and EPA's Tools and Resources Webinar Series. Up to 1.5 training hours will be offered for attending this webinar.
    Disclaimer: Any mention of trade names, products, or services does not imply an endorsement by the U.S. Government or EPA. 

  • Multi-Source Remote Sensing for Assessment and Management of Surface Waters (May 22, 2019)

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    Satellite imagery provides powerful datasets for understanding the dynamics of aquatic ecosystems across space and over time. The amount of imagery and diversity of data types are rapidly growing as new sensors with increased resolution and coverage continue to be launched across the globe (e.g., Sentinel-2, Sentinel-1, NISAR, CubeSats). EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) is a leader in applied research to develop powerful, cost-efficient tools using advanced remote sensing to assess and manage aquatic resources for a range of regulatory and non-regulatory purposes. Here we presented recent research integrating remote sensing with widely-used geospatial tools to (1) assess restoration success in Western headwater streams; (2) quantify the effects of irrigation practices on riparian condition in the Upper Missouri River watershed; and (3) detect changes in wetland extent in Mid-Atlantic Region.

    About the Presenters:

    Image of ResearcherMelanie Vanderhoof, Ph.D. (Contact: mvanderhoof@usgs.gov)
    Melanie is a research geographer with the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver, Colorado. Her research uses diverse sources of satellite imagery to explore how ecosystems change over time. She has collaborated with EPA scientists on a number of projects focused on monitoring surface waters across U.S. regions. Melanie received her Ph.D. in geography from Clark University and was formerly an ORISE Post-Doctoral Fellow with EPA's ORD.

     
     

    Image of ResearcherJay Christensen, Ph.D. (Contact: christensen.jay@epa.gov)
    Jay is a research ecologist with EPA, ORD's National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL) in Cincinnati, Ohio. His studies include spatial and temporal dynamics of wetlands, their interactions with the surrounding landscape, and their downstream effects on hydrology and water quality. Jay's research explores the interaction of wetlands with agroecosystems at watershed- and regional-scales using GIS, remote sensing, and modeling. He has been with EPA for 12 years, including a post-doctoral position in landscape ecology with NERL in Las Vegas, NV. Jay received a Ph.D. in ecology from Iowa State University and a B.S. in conservation biology from Brigham Young University.

     
     

    Image of ResearcherLaurie Alexander, Ph.D. (Contact: alexander.laurie@epa.gov)
    Laurie is an ecologist with EPA, ORD's National Center for Environmental Assessment in Washington, D.C., where she focuses on applied research to support science-based decision making. Her current research focuses on flows and functions by which small or temporary streams, non-tidal wetlands, and open waters interact with larger rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries. Laurie has a Ph.D. in aquatic entomology from the University of Maryland and an MSc in computer science from the Johns Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering.

  • M and M's: Developing Methods to Detect Toxicity in Water using Mayflies and Mussels (March 27, 2019)

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    Whole effluent toxicity (WET) methods are used to assess whether effluents (water discharged from wastewater treatment plants or industry) and ambient waters cause toxicity to aquatic life. Currently, EPA's effluent Mayfly and Mussel and Effluent Imagepermitting program relies on short-term chronic freshwater tests (4-d to 8-d) with cladocerans (Ceriodaphnia dubia), green algae (‎Raphidocelis subcapitata) and fish (Pimephales promelas). To further protect aquatic life, there is a need to provide additional standardized test species for freshwater environments for chronic exposures. Currently, EPA scientists are collaborating with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Illinois Natural History Survey to develop and standardize additional test species, such as the mayfly (Neocloeon triangulifer ) and the mussel (Lampsilis siliquoidea). This webinar highlighted the progress with the mayfly and mussel. 

    The mayfly as a test species: Desirable traits of the mayfly, Neocloen triangulifer, include that it is parthenogenetic, has a short life cycle (∼30-d at 25C), and is sensitive to various toxicants. While methods for conducting acute 4-d and chronic (~25-30-d) toxicity tests with this mayfly have been published, a need exists to extend and standardize the methodology for applicable methods for testing in short-term exposures (e.g., 7-d or 10-d). Studies began with identifying an optimal starting age, test duration, and optimal sublethal endpoint for WET testing. While others have compared the sensitivity of this species at 0-d, 3-d, & 5-d old, we sought to further investigate this question with independent experiments comparing 0-d and 7-d old organisms in 7-d and 14-d tests. Additionally, efforts to refine the various aspects of diatom culture technique on food quality and mayfly growth are underway and optimizing the diet for these organisms may be critical for achieving consistently high growth rates with low intra-treatment variability.

    The fatmucket mussels as a test species: The The fatmucket mussel (Lampsilis siliquoidea) is a common species that is found in six of the EPA Regions and Canada and has been demonstrated to be among the most sensitive of all aquatic species to some contaminants, including ammonia, chloride, sulfate, potassium, copper, nickel, and zinc. Studies with the fatmucket mussel to develop short-term 7-day testing procedures for WET testing have been conducted to determine optimum feeding rates and the most sensitive stage of the juvenile mussels in 7- and 10-d exposures using survival and growth of different ages of the juvenile mussels. Diet studies to optimize the feeding rates have been completed with various starting ages of juveniles (~1, 2, 3 wk old mussels) in both 7-d and 10-d tests. More recently the performance and variability in the mussel method was evaluated with an interlaboratory study with 13 volunteer laboratories from the United States and Canada.

    About the Presenters:

    Image of Teresa Norberg-KingTeresa J. Norberg-King (Contact: Norberg-King.Teresa@epa.gov)
    Teresa is a research aquatic biologist with EPA's Office of Research and Development. Her research focuses on developing effective methods for identifying significant stressors and effects in aquatic systems where effluent and sediment contamination are of concern. The goals of much of her research, applications, and science outreach include developing techniques for improvements in water quality by working to identify environmental contaminants, including unknown sources of toxicity, and developing/validating toxicity tests to predict their effects in the environment. Teresa has an M.S. from the University of Wyoming and a B.S.in biology from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

    Image of Dave SoucekDave Soucek, Ph.D.
    Dave is an ecotoxicologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey, and has adjunct appointments in the Departments of Entomology, and Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois, and the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech. His research program is focused broadly on aquatic toxicology of freshwater organisms with emphasis on investigating contaminants (exposure and fate and effects); development and improvement of toxicity testing methods for aquatic organisms; research in support of updating water quality criteria; and investigating factors that influence the toxicity of aquatic contaminants, particularly major ions. Dave has a Ph.D. in biology from Virginia Tech and an M.S. in zoology from Clemson University.

    Image of Ning WangNing Wang, Ph.D.
    Ning is a research fish biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center (CERC). He has led numerous research projects at CERC, including the development of standard methods for conducting early life-stage toxicity tests with freshwater mussels, the assessment of sensitivity of threatened and endangered fish and aquatic invertebrates to contaminants, the evaluation of toxicity of contaminated surface waters and sediments to aquatic organisms, and the evaluation of the toxicity of major ion salts and metals to fish and aquatic invertebrates. Ning has Ph.D. in natural sciences from the University of Konstanz and a B.S. in Fisheries from Huazhong Agricultural University. He conducted his post-doctoral research on fish feeding and bioenergetics at the University of Missouri.

  • Methods and Guidance for Sampling and Analyzing for PFAS in Environmental Media (November 28, 2018)

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    Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of man-made chemicals that include PFOA, PFOS, and GenX chemicals. Since the 1940’s PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries in the United States and around the globe. PFAS are found in everyday items such as food packaging, non-stick products, and stain repellent fabrics. PFAS are also widely used in industrial applications and for firefighting. PFAS can enter the environment through production or waste streams and are very persistent in the environment and the human body. As a critical step for estimating exposure and risk, EPA researchers are developing and validating analytical methods that will ensure government and private laboratories can accurately and consistently measure PFAS in the environment.

    This webinar detailed EPA’s current research on developing validated analytical methods for analyzing PFAS in environmental media. This research is in various stages of development, and includes methods development for drinking water; groundwater; surface water; wastewater; and solids, including soils, sediments, and biosolids. The webinar included information on the November 2018 update to EPA Method 537. EPA Method 537, which was first published in 2009 to initially determine 14 different PFAS in drinking water, has been updated (EPA Method 537.1) to include four more PFAS, including GenX chemicals, specifically the Hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid, as well as 11-chloroeicosafluoro-3-oxaundecane-1-sulfonic acid (11Cl-PF3OUdS), 9-chlorohexadecafluoro-3-oxanone-1-sulfonic acid (9Cl-PF3ONS), and 4,8-dioxa-3H-perfluorononanoic acid (ADONA). This validated method can be used by the EPA Regions and other government and commercial environmental laboratories to measure PFAS in drinking water.

    About the Presenters:

    Dr. Christopher ImpellitteriChristopher Impellitteri, Ph.D. (Contact: impellitteri.christopher@epa.gov)
    Chris serves as the Associate National Program Director for EPA/Office of Research and Development’s Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Research Program. He leads EPA research on water treatment and infrastructure that focuses on comprehensive water management in support of EPA’s Program and Regional Offices and State partners for protecting water resources. He is also the co-lead for EPA's PFAS methods validation effort. Chris has over 20 years of research experience in water, wastewater, and water reuse issues.

     
     

    Dr. Jody ShoemakerJody Shoemaker, Ph.D. (Contact: shoemaker.jody@epa.gov)
    Jody is a Research Chemist at EPA, and is a principal investigator for projects involving the development of analytical methods for potential drinking water contaminants. She has been involved in the development of eight drinking water methods, including EPA Method 537 for perfluorinated alkyl acids, and two ambient water methods for cyanotoxins. These methods are used for compliance purposes or for use in unregulated contaminant monitoring. Jody has a B.S. in chemistry from Notre Dame College of Ohio and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

     
     

  • Water Reuse and Reclaimed Water with Expert Panel Discussion (October 31, 2018)

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    Hassalo on 8th Wastewater Treatment & Reuse System in Portland, OregonThe reuse of alternative water sources (e.g., graywater, stormwater, roof runoff) within single buildings or urban districts for non-potable purposes such as toilet flushing or landscape irrigation is gaining popularity across the country. A group of public utilities and health agencies seeking uniform guidance on treatment requirements and monitoring approaches has recently released a Guidebook for Developing and Implementing Regulations for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems. This presentation provided the technical basis to understand the risk-based approach emphasized within the guidebook.

    1. Presentation (2:00-3:00 pm ET)

    The rationale and nature of quantitative microbial risks assessment models used to generate treatment targets within the Guidebook for Developing and Implementing Regulations for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems was presented, as well as how the targets are used to develop and permit treatment systems. Best approaches for effective monitoring of the systems to ensure safe operation was discussed, emphasizing the linkage of the most recent advancements in microbiology with simple, on-line sensors. In addition, approaches for monitoring treatment performance for pathogen removal was discussed, emphasizing the limitation of traditional fecal indicators and the potential use of more commonly occurring and abundant microorganisms as process indicators.

    Dr. Jay GarlandPresented by Jay L. Garland, Ph.D.(Contact:garland.jay@epa.gov)
    Jay joined EPA in 2011 as a Division Director within the Office of Research and Development. 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 him for creative technology innovation on four separate occasions. Jay 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. He 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. Jay is currently serving on the National Blue Ribbon Commission for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems.

    2. Panel Discussion (3:00-3:30 pm ET)

    Dr. Jay Garland lead a special panel discussion session with other members serving on the National Blue Ribbon Commission for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems. The Commission is comprised of 30 representatives from municipalities, public health agencies, water utilities, and national organizations who are leading the industry in onsite non-potable water systems. The panelists discussed best management practices to support the use of onsite non-potable water systems within individual buildings or at the local scale, and interacted with attendees to answer questions.

    Paula KehoePaula Kehoe (NBRC Chair), Director of Water Resources, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission 
    Paula is the Director of Water Resources for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). She is responsible for diversifying San Francisco’s local water supply portfolio through the development and implementation of conservation, groundwater, and recycled water programs. Paula spearheaded the landmark legislation allowing for the collection, treatment, and use of alternate water sources in buildings and districts within San Francisco. Previously, she worked as the Assistant to the General Manager of the SFPUC and supported the utility’s $4.8 billion capital improvement program designed to rebuild and repair the third largest water delivery system in California. As Public Education Director for the SFPUC’s Water Pollution Prevention Program, Paula received six state and national awards. Paula holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Master of Science from the University of San Francisco.

    Anita AndersonAnita Anderson, Principal Engineer, Minnesota Department of Health
    Anita has 20 years of experience as a water supply engineer with the Minnesota Department of Health. Her primary area of expertise is surface water treatment, specializing in small systems. Currently she is working on special projects to implement water reuse in Minnesota in a safe and sustainable way and to predict the vulnerability of groundwater drinking water sources to microbial pathogens. She holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Minnesota and is a registered professional engineer in Minnesota.

    Steve DeemStephen Deem, Regional Engineer, Washington State Department of Health
    Steve is a professional engineer representing the Washington State Department of Health drinking water program. Deem is also a consultant for Water 1st International, a non-profit water and sanitation development organization. His more than 25 years of experience in water and sanitation issues encompasses a myriad of settings–from the Kurdish refugee camps in Northern Iraq to post-war rehabilitation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from simple pipe networks in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh, to research efforts on ultraviolet disinfection with the Water Research Foundation. He received his Master of Science degree in environmental engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle and his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Marquette University.

    Brian GoodBrian D. Good, Chief Administrative Officer, Denver Water
    In his role as Chief Administrative Officer for Denver Water, Brian leads a diverse team whose primary focus is to provide internal service to the organization. Areas of focus include safety, security, emergency management, environmental compliance, sustainability, purchasing, contract control records and printing, and recreation. His previous roles at Denver Water include Director of Operations and Maintenance, Deputy Manager of Organizational Improvement, Water Recycling Plant Supervisor, and Assistant Supervisor of the Marston Water Treatment Plant. Prior to joining Denver Water, Brian managed source of supply, water treatment, and distribution operations for the Champaign, IL Division of Illinois American Water Corporation. Since 2012, he has also been a lecturer on water utility management for the University of Colorado, for which he coauthored a companion textbook titled The Effective Water Professional.

  • Use of Microbial Source Tracking Tools in Waterborne Disease Outbreak Response (June 27, 2018)

    This was a joint webinar with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

    Fecal pollution in recreational and drinking source waters can result in outbreaks leading to the transmission of disease. Information on the sources of fecal pollution is important because the level of human health risk can change from one pollution source to another. Understanding the source of disease causing enteric pathogens (e.g., norovirus) in outbreak environments is vital for determining and prioritizing remediation strategies. General fecal indicators, such as E. coli and enterococci, are typically used to assess fecal pollution; however, these methodologies do not discriminate between pollution sources. Recent advancements in the field of molecular biology have led to the development of microbial source tracking (MST) tools that can characterize fecal pollution from different animal groups.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is utilizing MST tools developed by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists for environmental investigations of waterborne outbreaks. For this webinar, Dr. Orin Shanks (EPA) provided an overview on EPA's MST method development activities, and Dr. Mia Mattioli (CDC) highlighted a CDC response to a recent waterborne outbreak where an EPA developed human-associated MST procedure was employed to help confirm a source of norovirus. This case scenario demonstrated how EPA and CDC interagency collaborations provide invaluable assistance to state environmental investigations of waterborne outbreaks.

    About the Presenters:

    Photo of CDC presenterDr. Mia Mattioli (Contact: kuk9@cdc.gov)
    Dr. Mattioli is an environmental engineer with CDC's Environmental Microbiology Laboratory of the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch within the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases and the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. She serves as the lead for domestic projects, and her research is focused on the intersection between the environment and human health with a specific interest in the relationship between, and fate and transport of, fecal indicators and enteric pathogens in environmental matrices. Dr. Mattioli leads the environmental investigations of waterborne outbreak responses by the CDC. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering from the University of Georgia and a Master and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University.

    Photo of ORD presenterDr. Orin C. Shanks (Contact: shanks.orin@epa.gov)
    Dr. Orin C. Shanks is a research geneticist with EPA's Office of Research and Development. His primary research area is the development, validation, and implementation of molecular technologies for environmental water quality management. Over the years, he has investigated the identification of host-associated genetic markers of fecal pollution, fate and transport of nucleic acids, utility of molecular methods for water quality monitoring, and has developed quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods. Dr. Shanks received his undergraduate and Master’s degrees from the University of Wyoming and his Ph.D. from Oregon State University.

  • Tools for Assessing Lakes and Streams: Lake-Catchment (LakeCat) and Stream-Catchment (StreamCat) Datasets (May 30, 2018)
    StreamCat and LakeCat Map

    Freshwater ecosystems reflect, in part, the characteristics of watersheds that feed them. It is critical to understand the natural and human-related features of watersheds to effectively manage and conserve their associated streams or lakes. However, the generation of watershed boundaries and the derivation of watershed information is a time-consuming process that requires specialized expertise. To facilitate the acquisition of these types of information, EPA developed the Stream-Catchment (StreamCat) and Lake-Catchment (LakeCat) Datasets. These tools are extensive collections of landscape metrics for about 2.6 million stream segments, and 378 thousand lakes and their associated catchments within the conterminous United States; both include natural and human-related landscape features. The data are summarized for both individual stream-segment and lake local catchments, and for cumulative upslope watersheds. StreamCat and LakeCat were developed to support the National Rivers and Streams Assessment and the National Lakes Assessment, and will be useful to states conducting similar assessments for lotic and lentic waters, respectively. Both tools are available to the public for download and provide an important resource for understanding and characterizing the Nation’s freshwaters.

    This presentation will introduce the generation, structure, and types of data that are available from StreamCat and LakeCat. In addition, we will provide examples of how these data have been used by the US EPA to model instream and in-lake conditions, including the probable biological condition of 1.1 million stream segments and the probability of lake eutrophication (chlorophyll a > 7µg/L) at 297 thousand lakes. 

    About the Presenter:

    Image of Ryan HillDr. Ryan Hill (Contact: hill.ryan@epa.gov)
    Dr. Hill is an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) postdoctoral researcher with EPA's Office of Reserch and Development, National National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Western Ecology Division. He received his Ph.D. in Watershed Ecology from Utah State University Watershed Sciences Department in 2013. His dissertation focused on the modeling and prediction of the thermal regimes of rivers and streams within the US. As an ORISE fellow, his research at EPA has focused on the generation and use of geospatial data and analyses to model and predict biological and physical conditions in freshwater ecosystems, also at the scale of the conterminous US. The objective of his work is to provide information to resource managers on the potential conditions of freshwaters that have not yet been assessed or monitored, and thus help prioritize these efforts.

  • Village Blue Project: Real-Time Water Quality Monitoring in the Baltimore Harbor (February 28, 2018)

    Webinar Recording
    Village Blue sensors on the Jones Falls River

    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:

    Dr. Kevin OshimaDr. Kevin Oshima (Contact: oshima.kevin@epa.gov)
    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:

  • National Stormwater Calculator for Managing Runoff Using Green Infrastructure (January 31, 2018)

    Image of a screenshot of the mobile web application and desktop versions of the SWC.

    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:

    Jason BernerJason Bernagros (Contact: bernagros.jason@epa.gov)
    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.