Water Research Webinar Series

EPA staff conducting water-related research

Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Research Program


Free webinars held every other month from 2:00-3:00 pm ET

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

2016 Schedule and Registration (2017 schedule coming soon)

  • December 14, 2016: Systems View of Nutrient Management – Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine

    Webinar Registration. Exit

    Urine is the primary source of phosphorus and nitrogen in municipal wastewater. Accordingly, it is important to consider for nutrient management. This webinar will cover new science on recovering nutrients from human urine. This includes issues of source separation in buildings, use at the farm, review of health issues, and factors influencing the environmental sustainability of nutrient management strategies. This webinar is an output of preliminary scientific research and demonstrations achieved from the Centers for Water Research on National Priorities Related to a Systems View of Nutrient Management, which were funded by EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants.

    Agenda and Presenters

    1. Introduction: A brief introduction on the topic will be provided.

    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. Building: Waterless urinals can serve a two-fold benefit of water conservation and implementation of urine source separation system. However, due to urine’s composition and the presence of the urease enzyme that hydrolyzes urea, valuable nutrients readily precipitate in the urinal fixtures and pipes. This hinders both water conservation and nutrient recovery efforts because of maintenance problems. This presentation will review 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 Sustainability: Nutrients embedded in wastewater or stormwater can be managed via different technologies at different scales. The factors influencing environmental sustainability of nutrient management strategies, including end applications, design configurations, implementation locations, and scale of implementations will be 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. Health: Source separated urine typically contains pharmaceuticals and microorganisms. A review of the occurrence of pharmaceuticals and microorganisms in source separated urine as it is transformed into fertilizer products will be 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. Farm: Source separated urine has been shown to work well as a crop fertilizer. Work on applying urine-derived fertilizer products to grow crops on a research farm in Vermont will be 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.”

Past Webinars

  • Toolkit of Available EPA Green Infrastructure Modeling Software (October 26, 2016)

    Note: A recording and presentation slides will be made available at a later date.

    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: tenbrink.marilyn@epa.gov)
    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: detenbeck.naomi@epa.gov)
    Dr. Naomi Detenbeck is an ecologist in NHEERL AED in Narragansett, RI, with an adjunct faculty appointment in Natural Resources Science at the University of Rhode Island. Her current research is focused on the watershed-scale effects of natural and constructed green infrastructure, development of decision-support tools for integrated water resources management, such as WMOST, and development of EPA’s Estuary Data Mapper. Naomi’s past research has included work on biogeochemistry, wetlands, landscape ecology, nutrient criteria development, and watershed classification. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Minnesota.


    3. Visualizing Ecosystems for Land Management Assessment (VELMA) Model: VELMA is a computer software model that regional planners and land managers can use to quantify the effectiveness of natural and engineered green infrastructure management practices for reducing nonpoint sources of nutrients and contaminants in streams, estuaries, and groundwater. These practices include riparian buffers, cover crops, and constructed wetlands.

    Dr. Bob McKanePresented by Dr. Bob McKane (Contact: mckane.bob@epa.gov)
    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: tryby.michael@epa.gov)
    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 was mentioned in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and is now a resource for LEED Project Credit 16 (Rainwater Management) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for projects that are designed to reduce runoff volume and improve water quality of a site.

    Jason BernerPresented by Jason Berner (Contact: berner.jason@epa.gov)
    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: richard.ready@montana.edu)
    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: glassmeyer.susan@epa.gov)
    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

    Webinar flyer

    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: mount.david@epa.gov)
    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 GI in order to create the greatest ecological, economic and social benefits. A discussion on how the Conservancy is exploring ways to share lessons learned and best management practices across multiple jurisdictions and municipalities 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: jkurtz@tnc.org)
    Josh is a policy analyst with The Nature Conservancy’s MD/DC Chapter working on stormwater management policies and regulations that allow for leveraging private investment for green infrastructure deployment in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Josh also works on a team evaluating stormwater management policies across the country, focusing on innovative funding mechanisms.


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

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

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

    About the Presenters

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


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

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

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

    About the Presenters

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


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

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

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

    About the Presenter

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

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

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

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

    About the Presenters

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

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

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

    About the Presenter

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

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

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

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

    About the Presenter

    Dr. Mary Schoen

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

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

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

    About the Presenter

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

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

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

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

    About the Presenter

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

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

    About the Presenters

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


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

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

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

    About the Presenter

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

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

    About the Presenter

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

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

    About the Presenters

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

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