Vaughan Harshman is Capital Sales Director at Evoqua Water
Technologies and Chair of the 2020 Odors
and Air Pollutants Conference. In this episode Vaughan discusses how odor
problems develop for water utilities, methods for controlling and reducing
odors, and community engagement that happens when there is a problem. He also
talks about corrosion issues that can accompany odors and the role of aging
infrastructure in odors.
Tom McGrain is a Water Quality Operator and Todd Saums is an Engineering Aide with the Northwestern Water and Sewer District in Wood County, Ohio. In this episode Tom and Todd discuss volunteering through Operators Without Borders to help in the Bahamas after the island nation was devastated by Hurricane Dorian in the fall of 2019. They talk about testing drinking water wells after the hurricane’s 23-foot storm surge caused extensive saltwater infiltration and then helping hydrologists scan for new wells to tap. Tom and Todd explain how Operations Challenge at WEFTEC connected them with Operators Without Borders and encourage others to support the organization at https://operatorswithoutborders.org/
Leslie Schehl is a Supervising Engineer at the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati and John Phillips is Director of Integrated Watershed Management at Parametrix, as well as co-chairs of the 2020 National Stormwater Symposium. In this episode Leslie and John explain how climate change is altering rainfall patterns and posing challenges for stormwater management, particularly in the form of urban flooding. They talk about the adoption of digital technology across the sector and the rise of smart sewers. Leslie and John also discuss the ongoing issues of maintenance and funding of stormwater infrastructure.
Chris Hartman is a Stormwater Technical Specialist with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. In this episode Chris discusses the important role of green infrastructure in Project Clean Lake, the utility’s program to reduce pollution to Lake Erie. He explains that NEORSD decided to utilize the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program for training on the design, installation, and maintenance. Chris says the use of NGICP has led to several people gaining jobs to maintain green infrastructure in the greater Cleveland community.
In order, these are the most popular episodes of 2019 based on downloads by listeners:
Jon Schladweiler on the History of Sewers – Jon talks about the history of sewers, including the origins of sewers 5,500 years ago in what is now Pakistan, the introduction of clay pipes in Babylon, the Roman Empire’s improvements, and that the Dark Ages led to its rebirth.
Dr. Sally Brown on Communicating About Biosolids – Sally says biosolids are a science communication tool for the public and the sector must talk about the low level of risk from contaminants including PFAS compared to other household sources.
Jim Cooper on Demystifying Intelligent Water – Jim discusses a report done on how artificial intelligence and predictive analytics can help address two human-centric challenges facing the water sector: affordability and resilience.
Valerie Lucas on Connecting with the Public – Valerie explains why her organization changed its name to better communicate with the public about the water sector’s work and how she has seen the role of women in water change during her career.
Emily Feenstra is the Managing Director for Government Relations and Infrastructure Initiatives at the American Society of Civil Engineers. In this episode Emily discusses the decision to add stormwater to ASCE’s Infrastructure Report Card, particularly because of data collection by the Water Environment Federation and National Municipal Stormwater Alliance. She talks about the how the report card is produced and used, as well as the recent grades for water infrastructure. Emily also outlines how the report card has impacted public opinion, policy, and funding over the years.
Andrew Minogue is the Director of Engineering at DN Tanks. In this episode Andrew explains the swift, significant shift in the security of water tanks after September 11 and outlines today’s standard practices for securing the critical infrastructure and protecting the water supply. He talks about the recent trend of adding mixing systems to tanks to circulate water, prevent stagnation, and improve quality. Andrew also discusses how tanks fits into the aging infrastructure picture, noting that concrete tanks have a long lifespan.
Ifetayo Venner is Water Sustainability Leader and Wastewater Service Line Leader at Arcadis and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Water Environment Federation. In this episode Ifetayo explains how growing up in the Caribbean led her to work in water and how her varied educational experiences and degrees shaped her career. She talks about the reasons the water sector needs to increase its diversity, not just in gender and race, but also in skill sets, education, perspectives, and life background. Ifetayo discusses how students and young professionals should seek out a variety of experiences to discover the direction that is best for them.
Valerie Lucas is the Executive Director of the Clean Water
Professionals of Kentucky & Tennessee. In this episode Valerie explains why
the organization changed its name to better communicate with the public about the
water sector’s work. She talks about collaborating with the Louisville water utilities
and four breweries to create their version of Pure Water Brew called Next
Round. Valerie also discusses how she has seen the role of women in water
change during her career and why it is important to increase the number of
women in the industry.
Kelly Trott is Senior Director of Imagine H2O. In this episode Kelly discusses the role that technology can play in solving urban water challenges, particularly as the global population further shifts to cities. She explains how catalytic funding and patient capital can create pilot opportunities and partnerships for entrepreneurs. Kelly also talks about the transferability of solutions across urban areas and how a certain innovative approach may work for one city and not another.
Sonja Michaluk is a high school student and the winner of the 2019 U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize, the nation’s most prestigious youth competition for water-related research. In this episode Sonja discusses how she explored the use of DNA barcoding to measure the health of waterways with larval Chironomidae, the most widespread macroinvertebrate family. She talks about her interest in the intersection of science and public policy and making data the language of debate. Sonja tells how her research caused a town board to change the planned path of a roadway to avoid a healthy creek.
Dr. Jackie King is the 2019 Stockholm Prize Laureate for her game-changing contributions to global river management. In this episode Jackie explains how she advanced the scientific understanding of water flows, giving decision-makers methods and tools to assess the full range of costs and benefits when managing or developing river systems. She also discusses feedback from young female scientists and her plans to further help Africa’s rivers.
Jackie Jarrell is the new President of the Board of Trustees of the Water Environment Federation and Operations Chief at Charlotte Water. In this episode Jackie talks about the value of WEF membership, including how networking and educational opportunities fueled her professional growth. She says that expanding the water workforce, increasing diversity and inclusion, and gaining attention for operators are among her priorities for WEF during the upcoming year. Jackie also discusses why she enjoys working at Charlotte Water and the benefits of engaging with the water sector in other countries.
Adam Blaser is a Regional Manager for DN Tanks. In this episode Adam explains
how the water sector uses concrete tanks for a wide variety of essential
purposes and how they have evolved over more than a century of use. He talks
about the options utilities have to replace or rehab concrete tanks, including
to address changing needs for water quality, sanitation, and security. Adam
also talks about the resilience of tanks to natural disasters such as
earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes.
Susan Moisio is Global Solutions Director for Conveyance and Storage for Jacobs. In this episode Susan discusses how sanitary sewers, particularly in coastal areas, are impacted by infiltration from increased rainfall, sea level rise, and higher groundwater tables from climate change. She explains how the impacts are assessed by reviewing the historical record, analyzing the current sewer system, and consulting with climate scientists. Susan says sanitary sewers can be rehabbed to increase resilience to climate change but a lack of financial resources for such projects is the greatest challenge.
Melissa Meeker is Director of The Water Tower for Gwinnett County, Esteban Azagra is Water Business Advisory Lead for Arcadis North America, and Zakiya Seymour is Principal Management Consultant for Arcadis North America. In this episode they discuss the most important attributes of a fit-for-future water utility, offering adjectives such as tactical, human-centric, and connective. Melissa, Esteban, and Zakiya explain the roles that a diverse workforce, advanced technology, innovation, and culture play in utility resilience. They also talk about the growth potential for software developers, information security analysts, and marketing specialists as water occupations. For more information about utility resilience, visit: www.arcadis.com/utilityresilience
Kevin Marsh is the President of FlowWorks. In this episode, Kevin discusses the growing role of machine learning in flow forecasting, which involves using historical data and weather models to forecast the impacts of wet weather on water infrastructure. He says that advance notice allows utilities to plan and the public to be alerted about events like combined sewer overflows, and that forecasting will become far more common with the increase in data, internet connectivity, and cloud computing. Kevin discusses how changing weather and climate uncertainty are causing utilities to want to better understand how systems are affected by rain events.
At AdEdge, Richard Cavagnaro is CEO, Jose Villena is COO, and Carolyn Spencer is Human Resources Manager. In this episode they talk about the importance of workplace culture to employee happiness and productivity, as well as the external reputation of the company. Richard, Jose, and Carolyn discuss the concept of living happy at work and how cultivating that culture starts at the top, takes effort to maintain, and involves showing new staff it is a priority.
WEFTEC 2019, the Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference, will be held September 21-25 in Chicago. This episode provides a preview of content in the program topic areas of research, utility management, future issues, and municipal design, including suggestions for highly recommended sessions to attend.
Carlos Williams and Steve Myers are Application Development Managers at Hach. In this episode, Carlos and Steve discuss how higher temperatures affect wastewater and drinking water plant operations. They talk about the impact of water temperatures on aeration, bacteria, phosphorous removal and collection systems and what else can impact water treatment, including rainfall.
Welcome to a mashup episode of the Words On Water podcast and Water In Real Life podcast that explores the role of communications in building the next generation water workforce. Listen to Travis Loop of the Water Environment Federation and Stephanie Zavala and Arianne Shipley of Rogue Water, aka The H2duO, discuss the importance of internal communications that excites and inspires employees to be working in water, shows they are part of a talented team, and highlights their work to the public. Travis, Stephanie, and Arianne also stress that water utilities could emphasis innovation and technology in external marketing, display more personality to the community, get creative with storytelling, and create exciting job titles and descriptions.
Episode #102 Hosted by Travis Loop, Stephanie Zavala, and Arianne Shipley.
Dave Elias is Southeast Regional Manager with Airvac. In this episode Dave explains how vacuum sewer systems work and why they often replace septic systems in low-lying, coastal areas. He shares some stories about the tangible benefits of vacuum systems in Florida, including at Crystal River, Indian River Lagoon, and the Keys. Dave also discusses how vacuum systems are resilient to major storms and hurricanes.
Noah Loop is the 11-year-old son of Travis Loop, host of the Words On Water Podcast. In this episode, father and son talk about why water is important, favorite activities when living by the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, and GenX pollution in the drinking water in their community of Wilmington, N.C. Noah and Travis also talk about marine biology, plastic pollution, and climate change.
Brown is a Research Professor in the School of Environmental and Forest
Sciences at the University of Washington. In this episode, Sally says biosolids
are a science communication tool for the public, particularly as learning about
the benefits help them get over the yuck factor. She also discusses innovative
ways to use biosolids, including in urban stormwater management and growing cannabis.
Sally says decades of research have shown biosolids to be safe and the sector
must talk about the low level of risk from contaminants including PFAS compared
to other household sources.
Greg Quist is CEO of SmartCover Systems, on the Board of Directors of the Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District, and Chair of the Urban Water Institute. In this episode Greg discusses real-time monitoring of sewers and the role of smartphones and satellites in water management. He talks about founding a number of water companies and his frustration with the sector’s slow adoption of technology. Greg also shares his views on water in Southern California, including the changes he has seen and optimism for solutions.
Jon Schladweiler is the historian for the AZ Water Association and curator of The Sewer History Exhibit. In this episode Jon talks about the history of sewers, including the origins of sewers 5,500 years ago in what is now Pakistan, the introduction of clay pipes in Babylon, the Roman Empire’s improvements, and that the Dark Ages led to its rebirth. He explains how combined sewer systems and separate sewer systems developed in the United States, and how demand and funding for the infrastructure played a role. Jon says sewers are one of civilization’s most significant achievements for human health and that the perfect sewer has not yet been built.
is Public Affairs Supervisor for the San Diego County Water Authority. In this
episode Teresa says developing and retaining current employees is a vital part
of shaping the next generation of the water workforce. She discusses how
employees should be connected to an organization’s priorities in communications,
policy, and the community. Teresa explains that employees should feel part of an
innovative culture and be encouraged to think about the direction of their
is Executive Director of the Water Services Association of Australia. In this
episode Adam provides an overview of the water utility sector in Australia and issues
such as urbanization, extreme drought, water reuse, and energy neutrality. He
also explains the water sector’s focus on customer value, affordability,
stormwater, and community livability. Adam discusses the special collaborative
relationship that Australia has with the United States and United Kingdom.
Lori Weigel is Principal at New Bridge Strategy. In this episode Lori discusses the results of an annual public opinion poll conducted through the Value of Water Campaign, which found that 85 percent of voters support increased funding for water infrastructure, a level of support that cuts across demographics, geography, party affiliation, and income level. She also talks about questions on affordability that show four in five voters believe water rates are affordable and are willing to pay more. Lori also explains that only 12 percent of voters are familiar with recycled water.
Bryan Stubbs is the President and Executive Director of the Cleveland Water Alliance. In this episode Bryan explains how the water technology cluster brings together utilities, companies, universities, and others to spur innovation and drive the region’s blue economy. He discusses how local problems with nutrient pollution and harmful algae blooms has led to a focus on monitoring, remote sensing, and connected systems. Bryan also talks about the Erie Hack innovation challenge, the comeback of the Cuyahoga River, and citizenship for the lake.
Lori Harrison is Director of Creative Projects and Jon Harrison is Art Director at the Water Environment Federation. In this episode Lori and Jon talk about Why Water’s Worth It, a fun and engaging children’s book featuring a little girl who guides readers through the world of clean water, how it’s managed, and the importance of everyone working together to protect it. They discuss the positive response to the book, how it can be used as a public outreach tool and STEM resource, and versions to be released in Spanish and French. Lori and Jon also explain what it was like to write and illustrate the book, with its rhyming text and more than 40 original, hand-drawn illustrations. The book can be ordered on WEF’s website, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.
Jim Cooper is Intelligent Water Lead at Arcadis. In this episode Jim discusses a new report done in collaboration with Bluefield Research on how artificial intelligence and predictive analytics can help address two human-centric challenges facing the water sector: affordability and resilience. He explains the concept of collective intelligence, which is “people plus technology,” and how a digital future can empower employees, not replace them. Jim says the sector is at a tipping point where early adopters of intelligent water are reaping multifaceted benefits.
is the General Manager of the Moulton Niguel Water District. In this episode
Joone discusses the need for water utilities to think about the kind of
business they will be in five to 10 years and the type of talent that should be
cultivated for that workforce. She says her utility has hired data scientists
and coders and worked with Netflix and Microsoft because better information
leads to better decisions. Joone explains that she spends more time on hiring than
many of her counterparts and selects people based on potential and attitude
rather than tenure, which creates an energetic and engaged workplace.
Saul Kinter is Business Development Manager at DC Water. In this episode, Saul explains how the utility has built support for biosolids – including its Bloom soil amendment – from third-party validators including soil scientists, farmers, homeowners, and construction companies. He discusses the need to build understanding of biosolids in the community and that meeting directly with people is vital because any message spreads best by word-of-mouth. Saul says to gain third-party endorsement of a product and drive sales, a utility needs the science, data, and research to back up the marketing.
Fariha Hassan is a project manager and Brit Merola is an applications
engineer at AdEdge. In this episode, Fariha and Brit explain the process of dewatering,
including why it is necessary, how the water is treated, and the role of
regulations. They discuss the typical water quality challenges and the great
variability from project to project. Fariha and Brit also talk about
improvements and changes taking place in dewatering.
Adam Tank is the Director of Digital Transformation at
Organica Water. In this episode Adam says to build public support and attract
the next generation of the workforce the water sector needs to be more creative
and much bolder in communications, including telling stories about its work and
using appealing job titles. He also discusses his view that the water sector is
behind other industries in digital transformation and that utilities should pay
closer attention to why and how they go digital.
Indra Maharjan is the Director of Innovation, Technology and Alternate Delivery at the Ontario Clean Water Agency in Canada. In this episode Indra explains how new technology, right-sizing equipment, conservation programs, and behavior change have increased energy efficiency at water facilities. He also discusses differences in the water sector between Canada and the U.S., including the size and ownership of systems as well as government-led efforts to address climate change. Indra also talks about starting his career in water in Nepal, where even as a part of management he was involved in the groundwork of operating traditional systems.
Steven Drangsholt is Northwest Infrastructure Market Sales Leader for Brown and Caldwell and a member of the House of Delegates for the Water Environment Federation. In this episode, Steve shares his view that mentorship is how different people bring you along in different ways at different times. He explains that the types of mentorship he needed for professional growth evolved from a technical focus to soft skills to leadership. Steve says that mentorships do not have to be part of formal programs and that organic relationships can be very impactful.
Mel Butcher is an engineering consultant at Arcadis, facilitates a career support group for women in male-dominated fields called CollabSuite, and is launching a podcast for Empowering Women in Industry. In this episode, Mel discusses what the low number of women in the water workforce means for those individuals and the whole sector. She talks about challenges women continue to face, from overt sexism to unconscious bias, and how both male and female colleagues can be allies in addressing these obstacles. Mel also says that there are many opportunities for women to have an impact on solving water challenges and the sector should have more honest conversations about diversity and inclusion to better reflect the communities they serve.
Marcus Quigley is a senior advisor for
Opti. In this episode, Marcus discusses how stormwater is an important area for
both water quality and water quantity, and how the challenge is amplified by aging
infrastructure and continued development. He explains that local elected
officials are motivated by the many community benefits of managing stormwater.
Marcus also talks about the role of technology such as cloud computing and
wireless communications in improving stormwater management and adapting to
Jenelle Watson is the Manager of Treatment and Resources at Melbourne Water in Australia. In this episode Jenelle explains how Melbourne Water is working to meet its obligation to be net-zero by 2030. She says the utility is identifying ways to eliminate demand and increase energy efficiency, while also advancing a series of renewable energy projects including solar, mini-hydros, and biogas. Jenelle also discusses how Melbourne Water must build resilience to sea level rise, which will inundate its largest treatment plant.
Ingrid Bella on BAYWORK Ingrid discusses the origins of BAYWORK, its focus on showcasing water sector jobs to students and educators, and the many resources available to help utilities address workforce challenges.
Haley Falconer on Sustainability in Boise Haley discusses managing environmental services for one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. and how water fits in the portfolio with energy, waste, and air quality.
Abigail Gardner on Public Opinion Poll Results Abigail talks about the results of a public opinion poll that found 88 percent of voters support increasing federal investment to rebuild America’s water infrastructure and how that support cuts across age, gender, political party, and geography.
Kishia Powell on Atlanta’s Community Investments Kishia discusses Atlanta’s extensive use of green infrastructure, including using it to create public spaces such as the Historic Fourth Ward Park and to educate citizens on water management.
Britt Sheinbaum on Conflict and Resolution Britt discusses her view that water conflict is an opportunity for cooperation, the role of water scarcity in tensions in places like Syria, and the remarkable cooperation found along transboundary waters.
Kathryn Sorenson on Water in Phoenix Kathryn discusses how the utility collects, distributes, and treats water in the desert home of the fifth-most populated city in the United States.
Cameron Davis is Vice President at GEI Consultants and a Commissioner for the Metropolitan Water District of Greater Chicago. He was formerly the Senior Advisor for the Great Lakes for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes. In this episode, Cam talks about the experience of running for an elected office, the role of a water commissioner, and his focus on the issues of infrastructure, equity, and climate change. He also discusses the need to care for the Great Lakes, including through collaboration with Canada and by dealing with nutrient pollution, invasive species, and habitat loss.
Mohammad Abdulatif is superintendent for
the Dhahran Water Operations Division in Saudi Aramco and founder of the Saudi
Arabia Water Environment Association. In this episode, Mohammad discusses water
management in Saudi Arabia, including the extensive use of desalination,
requirements for reuse for industry, and prioritization of agricultural crops that
require less water. He talks about the challenges of growing water demand in an
arid country and how Saudi Vision 2030 features a focus on a sustainable water
sector, supported by government investment. Mohammad also explains efforts to
educate the public, including children, about water conservation.
John Van Nostrand is the South and Municipal Manager for FLEXIM.
In this episode, John explains the role and importance of flow metering for
water utilities in collections, treatment, and distribution. He discusses the
problem of water loss and leaks, and how flow meters can be used to monitor the
integrity of a system. John talks about the problem of aging infrastructure and
improperly installed meters, as well as how improvements in technology allow
for tracking of extremely low flows, particularly during off-peak times for
Tom Ferguson is the Vice President of Programming
at Imagine H2O. In this episode, Tom discusses why the focus of the 2019 Innovation Summit
is on “The Next Generation.” He talks about the ways the water sector must
consider innovation in attracting, hiring, and retaining talent; in shaping
internal culture; and in seizing the technology opportunity. Tom also explains
how people from outside of water can provide valuable ideas and inspiration for
those in the industry.
Adam Davis is Senior Counsel at DHM Research. In this episode Adam discusses results of a national opinion survey conducted with Blue Drop that found one-third of people do not know the source of their drinking water and two-thirds do not know the destination of their wastewater after it is cleaned. He also shares that 50 percent aren’t familiar with the quality of their drinking water and three-quarters don’t know about water infrastructure projects in their community. Adam explains how a lack of public awareness can lead to other types of infrastructure and services being prioritized for investment before water. He says it is important for utilities to poll locally, engage customers, use focus groups, and partner with other organizations as a way to build relationships.
Haley Falconer is Environmental Division Senior Manager for
the City of Boise. In this episode, Haley discusses managing environmental
services for one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. and how water fits
in the portfolio with energy, waste, and air quality. She talks about the
choice by Boise to use the term “water renewal facilities” and familiarizing
the public with the phrase. Haley reflects on Boise’s recent experience producing
several beers and ciders with purified wastewater. She also explains why she
has been a very active volunteer for the Water Environment Federation.
Mark Schleifstein is a Pulitzer Prize-winning environmental reporter for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans and for NOLA.com. In this episode Mark explains why he has stayed in environmental reporting for 35 years, how major cuts to newsrooms have impacted journalism, and what types of water stories resonate with the public. He talks about several high-profile issues he has covered including the loss of wetlands along Louisiana’s coast, health of the Mississippi River, dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, impacts of the BP oil spill, and Hurricane Katrina. Mark also discusses the infrastructure challenges in New Orleans and provides advice for water utilities on working with the media.
Gary Belan is the Senior Director of the Clean Water Supply Program at American Rivers and Janet Clements is the Senior Water Resource Economist at Corona Environmental Consulting. In this episode, Gary and Janet discuss Stormwater Currency, a collaboration with the Water Environment Federation to develop private financing options for green infrastructure. They explain how, with support from the Great Lakes Protection Fund, the organizations will work with utilities in Grand Rapids, Michigan to develop a stormwater credit trading program and in Cleveland, Ohio to optimize a green infrastructure grant program. Gary and Janet say the goal is also to enable the strategies to be scaled throughout the Great Lakes region and beyond.
Dr. Jason He is a Professor of Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech and the new Editor-In-Chief of the Water Environment Research (WER) Journal. In this episode, Jason explains that while it is an exciting time to be water research, it can be challenging to address all the areas of need, such as on emerging contaminants, and to secure funding. He also discusses the history and importance of WER to the water sector, as well as the overall role of peer-reviewed journals in providing high-quality research. Jason talks about recent changes to the journal, including a publishing partnership with Wiley, a new editorial board, and an emphasis on practical research, case studies, and viewpoint columns.
Angeliki Rigos is the Executive Director of the Tata Center for Technology and Design at MIT. In this episode Angeliki explains the Tata Center’s focus on advancing disruptive technologies and the example of a start-up that collects water from the cooling towers of power plants. She says more scientists should be active advocates for sustainability and that she encourages women scientists to become leaders in society. Angeliki also discusses how water issues aren’t separate from other sustainability challenges and how water scientists should work across boundaries with other disciplines.
John Gonzalez is Manager of Communications at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. In this episode, John discusses how the utility uses its wildly popular and funny Twitter account @neorsd to educate, engage, and entertain customers. He explains that to gain creative freedom on social media there is a need to build trust with management, particularly by being clear about strategy, structure, and substance. John says that to maximize the impact of Twitter, utilities must latch onto trending topics, be timely, and localize content for followers.
Gilbert Trejo is the Chief Technical Officer for El Paso Water. In this episode, Gilbert discusses the utility’s direct potable reuse project that will put wastewater effluent through several types of advanced treatment and then distribute it directly into the drinking water system. He explains this project is part of El Paso’s long-running emphasis on diversifying its water resources portfolio. Gilbert said a survey of customers found that 85 percent said they would drink this water. He also talks about the process of working with state regulators, a visit by CNN and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and how the use of “toilet to tap” is an opportunity to educate.
InFLOW is a new program from the Water Environment Federation that stands for Introducing Future Leaders to Opportunities in Water. In this episode, WEF staff Morgan Brown and Rahkia Nance explain that InFLOW identifies promising students from underrepresented minority groups who are interested in professional careers in the water industry and provides them scholarships to attend WEFTEC. In its first year, 16 students from Howard University, Tuskegee University, and the University of South Florida participated in the program. Three of those students – Maya Carrasquillo, Sigmund Skinner, and Faith Oviawe – discuss their experiences with InFLOW and perspectives on water careers.
Will Sarni is the Founder and CEO of the Water Foundry. In this episode, Will discusses how he helps multinational companies to evaluate the value of water to their business, look at the growing risks around water, and develop mitigation strategies. He also talks about the ways digital technologies will transform our relationship with water, why the circular economy is vital for getting us away from wasting resources, and that more attention should be paid to the water-energy-food nexus. Will also shares that he is optimistic about the future of water and that we are in the midst of a paradigm shift driven by demand outpacing supply.
Jenelle Armstrong is the Utility Division Manager of The Thrasher Group. In this episode, Jenelle talks about how her time at the U.S. Naval Academy shaped her views on leadership and prepared her to be a woman in the male-dominated water industry. She also explains why military veterans make outstanding employees and are a great fit for the water sector, particularly because of their skill set, problem-solving ability, and public service mindset. Jenelle discusses the experience of living through the 2014 drinking water crisis in Charleston, West Virginia and what led her to create the hashtag #WipesClogPipes.
Dave Pedersen is the General Manager of the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District in Calabasas, California. In this episode, Dave and his colleagues tell the dramatic story of how the utility responded in the face of the Woolsey Fire, which scorched two-thirds of its service area. He explains how Las Virgenes MWD activated its emergency operations center, maintained power, tracked water levels, and kept in communication with firefighters in order to protect infrastructure and provide vital water for combating the wildfire. Dave shares how firefighters protected the utility’s headquarters from the encroaching blaze and how air drops kept the water reclamation facility safe. He also talks about the human impact, as employees saw the community burning, and the long road to recovery.
Matt Streicher is the Treasurer and Liz Heise is the Marketing Chair for the Global Water Stewardship. In this episode, Matt and Liz discuss the Global Water Stewardship, a volunteer organization that is working in Costa Rica to address sanitation and environmental challenges that stem from decentralized treatment, inadequate septic systems, and a lack of advanced treatment. They explain how volunteers help design systems to treat wastewater and train local residents to serve as operators. Matt and Liz also talk about the organization’s work to educate local people in Costa Rica about the issues, which includes paying a sewer bill. Donations to Global Water Stewardship help in these efforts.
Eleanor Allen is the CEO of Water For People. In this episode, Eleanor explains the organization’s model of water for Everyone Forever, which has to date provided service to 3.3 million people. She also discusses the nonprofit’s unique niche among global water charities, including how they bring together entrepreneurs, community members, and local governments to build and deliver water and sanitation services. Donations to Water For People help in these efforts.
Dr. Art Umble leads the Global Wastewater Practice for Stantec Consulting. In this episode, Art explains the concept of the circular economy, including its origins in the 1960s and how it has evolved over the years. He discusses the level of support for a circular economy in the water sector and in industry, businesses, and government. Art also talks about the idea of biomimicry, which involves using nature as the model for designs and systems.
Marleah LaBelle is a project manager with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. In this episode, Marleah discusses the challenges with drinking water and sanitation in Alaska Native villages, which includes about 3,000 households with no service. She describes the central place of water in the Alaska Native culture, including for subsistence living, and an initiative to use art to strengthen awareness of water issues. Marleah also explains how climate change is impacting Alaska Native villages, even forcing relocation.
Ronit Erlitzki is the Director of Business Development and Innovation and Richard Cavagnaro is the Director of Corporate Marketing and Communications at AdEdge Water Technologies. In this episode, Ronit and Richard discuss how the state of science and technology make it an exciting time to work in water and how scientists and engineers are actually creative people. They talk about several hot issues including emerging contaminants such as PFOA and PFOS, the evolution of desalination, transferring technology to the market, and showcasing water careers to the next generation.
David Wachal is the Director of the Esri Global Water Practice. In this episode, David talks about the digital transformation of the water sector, including the rise of location intelligence and the creation of digital twins of water systems. He also discusses ways that utilities are using GIS data, such as to gain real-time insight into operations or to address affordability concerns. David adds his thoughts on the workforce implications of the digital era and his perspective on the rate of digitization around the globe.
Ghassan Korban is the new Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. In this episode, Ghassan discusses the work needed to improve water infrastructure in New Orleans, which he says includes reinvesting to create a system for the next 50 to 100 years, particularly to deal with flooding. He acknowledges the unique nature of New Orleans’ infrastructure and the special spotlight on the city. Ghassan also talks about the benefits of green infrastructure, the challenge of shaping a workforce, and creating a better image for the utility.
Tom Kunetz is the new President of the Board of Trustees for the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and Assistant Director of Monitoring and Research for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD). In this episode, Tom discusses his priorities for the next year as WEF President, which include increasing the diversity of the water workforce and expanding resource recovery by utilities. He also talks about his work at MWRD, the rebound of the Chicago River, and his involvement in comedy.
Joe Witlox is the Director of Decentralized Water and Wastewater Solutions at Newterra. In this episode, Joe explains the challenges that small communities face with wastewater treatment and how decentralized technology can be used to provide essential services. He also talks about the concept of modular design, which allows for incremental and cost-effective expansion of treatment as communities grow.
Dinesh Kumar is the India Market Manager for TrojanUV and Wayne Lem is the Municipal Market Manager for TrojanUV. In this episode, Dinesh discusses the importance of the Ganges River to the people of India and the major effort underway to reduce pollution in the river, which includes new wastewater discharge standards. Wayne explains the role of TrojanUV in raising public awareness about disinfection and the construction of treatment plants in communities along the Ganges.
Chris Mahoney is the Vice President of Capital Markets for Andritz Separation Technologies. In this episode, Chris shares his perspective on how the goals of water treatment have changed over the past several decades, including the shift from basic treatment to resource recovery. He explains the important role of equipment such as screens, thickeners, and driers in the mechanics of water treatment. Chris also discusses how Andritz’s work in the water sector benefits from its work in industries such as pulp and paper, mining and minerals, and chemicals.
Kevin Marsh is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for FlowWorks. In this episode, Kevin discusses how big data and machine learning can now be used to improve the information on stormwater impacts on collections systems. Instead of the traditional approach of conducting flow studies and waiting for results, a new tool called Infinitii I&I provides on-going, real-time access to data needed characterize a system’s wet weather response, evaluate needs, and predict performance. Kevin also talks about a new public notification system for combined sewer overflow events and how utilities can benefit from a flood risk forecasting tool.
Mike Matichich leads the financial services consulting team for Jacobs. In this episode, Mike explains how the increasing attention to affordability of water rates stems from the pinch created by necessary investments in infrastructure and rising costs for households. He says it is more important than ever for utilities to create customer assistance programs and to turn research on affordability into action. Mike also discusses how lessons can be learned at looking at state-by-state variability, approaches in public versus private water systems, and in how places like Australia, Canada, and Europe address affordability issues.
Paul Bowen is Water and Wastewater Technology Manager for the Coca-Cola North American Supply Chain and former President of the Board of Trustees of the Water Environment Federation. In this episode, Paul explains the increased focus on water sustainability at Coca-Cola over the past 15 years, which was spurred by an examination of water risk in the 200 countries it operates. He talks about the importance of relationships with water utilities, the wastewater requirements for bottlers, and the opportunity to reuse treated water for non-potable operations. Paul also reflects on the value of volunteering with WEF and his tenure on the Board.
WEFTEC, the Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference, is the largest annual water quality event in the world. This year it will be held September 29 to October 3 in New Orleans. In this episode, WEF staff provide a preview of WEFTEC, including highlights of the conference program, the new additions to the exhibit floor, what to expect at the opening session, and how to use the app to navigate the event.
Kishia Powell is the Commissioner of the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management. In this episode, Kishia talks about the utility’s new $1 billion, five-year capital improvement plan. She discusses Atlanta’s extensive use of green infrastructure, including using it to create public spaces such as the Historic Fourth Ward Park and to educate citizens on water management. Kishia also explains the importance of community involvement in the planning process and how the utility is focused on equity across neighborhoods.
Sidney Innerebner is the Owner of Indigo Water Group and Author of Wastewater Treatment Fundamentals. In this episode, Sidney discusses how the new Wastewater Treatment Fundamentals provide a one-stop shop for operators to gain the information needed to do their jobs. She talks about how the book features an array of pictures, graphics, terminology, and practice questions for certification exams. Sidney also explains how the book represents the highest standard of what is known about wastewater treatment.
Manny Teodoro is an Associate Professor at Texas A&M University. In this episode, Manny discusses the issue of affordability of water, including how water can be simultaneously underpriced and unaffordable. He talks about why the water sector must address the affordability issue now. Manny also explains why the median household income isn’t an accurate measure for determining affordability and offers more effective ways to calculate costs for working class households.
Cathy Bailey is the Executive Director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works. In this episode, Cathy discusses her rise from a chemist working nights to the first woman and African-American to lead the utility in its 200-year history. She also talks about the fight against lead in drinking water – Cincinnati’s program has received national attention and is based on extensive education and a proactive effort to remove lead service lines. Cathy stresses how it is the right thing to do for the community and to start kids off on the right path.
Darryl Haddock is the Education Director for the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance and the Federal Urban Waters Ambassador for Proctor Creek. In this episode, Darryl explains how a community struggling with environmental justice issues came together to advocate for more desirable wastewater and stormwater solutions. He also talks about the many benefits of reinvesting in urban waterways and the neighborhoods around them, as well as how residents in these areas can provide meaningful input into projects.
Manon Fisher is a resource recovery specialist with the San Francisco Public Utility Commission. In this episode, Manon discusses the role of biosolids in addressing climate change — including through carbon sequestration – and in building environmental literacy in a community. She also talks about the path ahead for SFPUC to transition to the highest class of biosolids.
Tim Thomure is the Director of Tucson Water in Arizona. In this episode, Tim discusses how a heavy focus on reclaiming and reusing water in the desert has enabled Tucson and Pima County to transition off groundwater and recharge the aquifer. He also talks about the work to develop a regulatory framework for direct potable reuse in Arizona so communities will have the option if necessary. Additionally, Tim explains the growth of green infrastructure in Tucson as a way to capture precious rainfall and reduce the heat island effect.
Mike McGill is the President of WaterPIO. In this episode, Mike discusses the presence of the chemical GenX in the Cape Fear River and drinking water of Wilmington, N.C. He also talks about how utilities should approach crisis communications, particularly for emerging contaminants like PFOA, PFAS, and GenX. Mike explains the importance of regular, proactive communications from utilities to customers and the media, and how that approach provides benefits in emergency situations.
John Willis is Vice President of Wastewater Solutions at Brown and Caldwell. In this episode, John discusses the generation of biogas by the water sector and the opportunity to increase production, particularly for vehicle fuel. He also talks about the value of biosolids and importance of regular dialogue with the media and public. John additionally explains the enormous potential of anaerobic primary treatment to drive water utilities to net zero, an innovative process inspired by work by the Gates Foundation in the developing world.
Britt Sheinbaum is a water conflict specialist and Head of the East Coast Technology Approval Group for Isle Utilities. In this episode, Britt discusses her view that water conflict is an opportunity for cooperation, the role of water scarcity in tensions in places like Syria, and the remarkable cooperation found along transboundary waters. She also talks about adaptability, shared goals, and tools as the keys in conflict resolution.
Lebron James is a free agent and choosing where to play basketball next season. What if he factored the city’s water utilities and water bodies into the decision? In this episode, we discuss a few of the attributes and programs of the five cities that sports experts predict as the most likely destinations for Lebron – Cleveland, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, and Boston. Disclaimer: Lebron is unfortunately not a guest on this episode.
Jeff Prevatt is the Deputy Director of Treatment, Research, and Innovation for Water Reclamation in Pima County, Arizona. In this episode, Jeff shares his perspective on the future of direct potable reuse of water, explains how the AZ Pure Water Brew Challenge used beer to raise public awareness, and talks about the innovative research underway at the new WEST Center, a facility opened in partnership with the University of Arizona and Dow.
Al Cho is the Vice President of Advanced Infrastructure Analytics at Xylem, Inc. In this episode, Al discusses the use of smart technologies in monitoring, assessing, and decision-making for water infrastructure. He also explains the new Intelligent Water Systems Challenge and offers his thoughts on remote sensing, automation, artificial intelligence, and blockchain.
Ned Beecher is the Executive Director of the North East Biosolids & Residuals Association. In this episode, Ned discusses the many benefits of biosolids, including diverting waste from landfills, improving agricultural production, restoring land damaged by mining and fires, and remediating Superfund sites. He also talks about safety issues around emerging contaminants and the role of biosolids in addressing climate change.
Kathryn Sorenson is the Director of Phoenix Water Services. In this episode, Kathryn discusses how the utility collects, distributes, and treats water in the desert home of the fifth-most populated city in the United States. She also talks about how Phoenix has decreased water consumption and replenished vital groundwater, the continuation of ancient Native American practices for moving water via canals, the oasis known as the Tres Rios wetlands, and a new biogas project that means all resources are recovered at the city’s largest treatment plant.
Dr. Bruce Rittmann is the director of the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. He was named the 2018 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for revolutionizing water and wastewater treatment. In this episode, Bruce discusses how his first job at a wastewater plant shaped his career, the cutting-edge use of microbial communities to convert pollutants into resources, and how mathematical modeling can improve the treatment process.
Adam Krantz is the CEO of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. In this episode, Adam talks about the complementary roles of the various water associations, including NACWA. He also assesses the current political will by elected officials to act on water issues and discusses paying for clean water, advancing smarter regulations, promoting innovation, and modernizing the Clean Water Act.
The National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP) is a new jobs program that provides training and certification in the field of green infrastructure. NGICP establishes national requirements for working on green infrastructure projects, promotes a skilled green workforce, streamlines the process of connecting qualified talent to in-demand jobs, and supports community-based job creation in U.S. cities. This episode features conversations with several people involved with NGICP including program director Adriana Calderelli.
Ingrid Bella is chair of BAYWORK, a consortium of San Francisco Bay Area water utilities working together to ensure a reliable workforce. In this episode, Ingrid discusses the origins of BAYWORK, its focus on showcasing water sector jobs to students and educators, and the many resources available to help utilities address workforce challenges.
Abigail Gardner is the communications adviser for the Value of Water Campaign and U.S. Water Alliance. In this episode, Abigail talks about the results of a new public opinion poll that found 88 percent of voters support increasing federal investment to rebuild America’s water infrastructure and how that support cuts across age, gender, political party, and geography. She also discusses how results have changed over time, findings on drinking water behavior, and the public’s priorities for wastewater utilities.
Joe Kane is a senior research associate and associate fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. In this episode, Joe discusses the key findings of his research on national and local water use patterns in the U.S., how stormwater utilities offer resilient options for communities, and expanded opportunity through infrastructure jobs. He also talks about his ongoing research on the water workforce and offers his perspective on the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.
Karen Pallansch is the CEO of Alexandria Renew Enterprises in Virginia. In this episode, Karen talks about the Utility of the Future concept and how wastewater treatment plants are transforming into water resource recovery facilities. She also discusses how AlexRenew embodies a Utility of the Future, particularly through its community engagement, watershed stewardship, and recovery of resources such as water, energy, and nutrients. AlexRenew is one of about 80 utilities that have earned recognition as a Utility of the Future Today.
Alan Heymann is the President of Blue Drop and the Chief Marketing Officer for DC Water. In this episode, Alan shares the origin story of the unique nonprofit affiliate of a water utility, which includes a mission to provide ratepayer relief by selling its biosolids-based soil amendment Bloom and providing consulting services to other utilities. He also discusses the benefits and challenges of being attached to a public water utility, as well as how Blue Drop may evolve in size and scope in the future.
Robert Puente is the President and CEO of the San Antonio Water System. In this episode, Robert explains how San Antonio gained its reputation for water efficiency and conservation, including how they keep the famous River Walk flowing and why they have an 11-foot model of a low-flow toilet. He also discusses the competition for water resources in Texas, which has led the city to keep a close eye on aquifers and build a desalination plant.
John Albert is the Chief Research Officer for The Water Research Foundation. In this episode, John discusses the recent merger of two nonprofit research organizations that created The Water Research Foundation. He also talks about new focus areas of water research, including the workforce of the future, affordability of rates, emerging contaminants, and transformative technology like robotics, drones, and virtual reality.
Melissa Pomales is based in Puerto Rico as a Water Program Management Leader for Arcadis. In this episode, Melissa tells her personal and professional stories of the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria on her home island. She talks about the estimated $700 million in damage to water infrastructure, the opportunity – and necessity – for Puerto Rico to rebuild in a resilient manner, and how climate change is fueling sea level rise, coastal erosion, and stronger storms.