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Water Research Webinar Series

Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Research Program

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 research 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 for each live webcast attended. Acceptance of certificates is contingent on state and/or organization requirements—EPA cannot guarantee acceptance.

Upcoming 2020 Schedule (subject to change)

2019 Webinar Recordings

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

    Webinar Recording Coming Soon

    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. (
    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 from 2:00-3:30 pm ET)

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    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:
    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:
    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:
    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:
    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:
    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:
    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:
    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 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.

2018 Webinar Recordings

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

    EPA scientist, Dr. Jody Shoemaker, conducting research at EPA's research center in Cincinnati, OhioWebinar Recording Exit

    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:
    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:
    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)

    Webinar Recording 

    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.(
    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:
    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:
    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:
    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:
    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:
    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.

2017 Webinars

  • Integrated Decision Support Tool for Life Cycle Cost Assessment of Stormwater Management Infrastructure (October 25, 2017)

    Green infrastructure practices for urban stormwater managementPlanning 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:

    Dr. Terri HogueDr. Terri S. Hogue (Contact:
    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.

    Dr. Jennifer Stokes-DrautDr. Jennifer Stokes-Draut (Contact:
    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 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.

    Dr. Mengistu GezaDr. Mengistu Geza (Contact:
    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.

    Dr. Colin BellDr. Colin D. Bell (Contact:
    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)

    Mansonry DamLand 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:

    Dr. Paul MayerDr. 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.

    Dr. Tammy Newcomer JohnsonDr. 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.

    Dr. Sujay KaushalDr. 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)
    Water reuse water cycle from source to use.

    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 2EPA'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:

    Dr. Matthew SmallMatthew 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.

    Paula KehoePaula 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.


    Dr. Jay GarlandJay 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)
    Global Change Explorer: Land use, watersheds, deposition

    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.

    Phil MorefieldPresented 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.

    Dr. Thomas JohnsonPresented 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.

    Dr. Christopher M. ClarkPresented 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)
    Top left: Image of woman inspecting premise plumbing pipes; second to left: image of woman working in the laboratory; Bottom left: image of culture plate with bacterial growth; Right: image of premise plumbing pipes

    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 WorkPatrick 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..

    Dr. Patrick GurianPresented 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 CommunitySheldon 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.

    Dr. Sheldon MastersPresented 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 SafetyTo 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.

    Dr. Andrew WheltonPresented 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 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 NormalsAs 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.

    Dr. Janice BeecherPresented 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 RisksWater 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.

    Dr. Jade MitchellPresented 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)
    All photos by Rick McKinney Image 1 is of the Woonasquatucket River, image 2 is a person kayaking down the Woonasquatucket River, image 3 is the Woonasquatucket River.

    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:

    1. Can people benefit from an ecosystem service?
    2. How many people benefit?
    3. How much are people likely to benefit?
    4. What are the social equity implications?
    5. 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. Marissa MazottaDr. 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 BousquinJustin 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. IntroductionA brief introduction on the topic will be provided.

    Dr. Colleen NaughtonPresented 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. BuildingWaterless 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.

    Dr. Treavor BoyerPresented 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 SustainabilityNutrients 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.

    Dr. Qiong ZhangPresented 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. HealthSource 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.

    Dr. Krista WiggintonPresented 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. FarmSource 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.

    Abraham Noe-HayesPresented 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.

    The names of five of EPA's green infrastructure models and tools written inside of rain drops: GiWIZ, WMOST, VELMA, SWMM, SWC.

    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.

    Dr. Marilyn TenbrinkPresented 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.

    Dr. Naomi DetenbeckPresented 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) ModelVELMA 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.

    Dr. Bob McKanePresented 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.

    Dr. Michael TrybyPresented 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.

    Jason BernerPresented 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)
    stream flowing over rocks

    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

    Dr. Richard ReadyRichard 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)
    Image of a stream contaminated with chemicals with an image of faucet filling up glass

    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

    Dr. Susan GlassmeyerSusan 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)
    EPA aquatic effects research

    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

    Dr. David Mount 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)
    bioretention cell rain garden

    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 Presenters

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


    Holly Galavotti 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.

EPA staff conducting water-related research