Anna Mehrotra is the Director of the Wastewater Surveillance Program for the Water Environment Federation (WEF). In this episode, Anna and Carley Truyens, Public Health Associate at WEF, explain how WEF is inviting applications from small utilities interested in receiving free automatic wastewater samplers to help expand participation in wastewater surveillance programs. They discuss the use of autosamplers with Aaron Anson of Hach and Kaushal Trivedi of Teledyne ISCO, who were selected through a competitive Request for Proposal process to supply autosamplers as part of this program. Visit this page to learn more about the program and how to apply.
Kari Brisolara is Associate Professor of Environmental Health at Louisiana State University and Chair of the Disinfection and Public Health Committee for the Water Environment Federation. In this episode, Kari discusses the historic connection between water and public health and how the coronavirus pandemic raised awareness about the role of the water sector in public health. She talks about the increased collaboration between the water sector and public health sector, particularly to advance wastewater-based disease surveillance. Kari also explains the benefits to water organizations of closer relationships with health organizations and the role of wastewater epidemiology beyond COVID.
The emergence of the omicron variant presents unique challenges for wastewater utility managers related to staffing shortages and concerns about increased transmissibility of the virus. Yet omicron also highlights the continued value of wastewater-based disease surveillance due to the early detection of the variant in wastewater relative to clinical data. This podcast presents the latest information on omicron and wastewater. The guests are Dr. Andrew Sanderson, WEF Chief Medical Officer, and Amy Kirby, the CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System Lead.
Lauren Christopher is the Director of the Division of Energy Assistance in the Office of Community Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In this episode Lauren discusses the new Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program, which was established by Congress and has initially provided $166.6 million in grants to help ratepayers effected by the COVID-19 pandemic pay drinking water and wastewater utility bills. She explains that states, territories, and tribes receive these federal grants and work in partnership with water systems to ensure low-income households and families have access to services.
Amy Kirby is the National Wastewater Surveillance System Lead for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Andrew Sanderson is the Chief Medical Officer for the Water Environment Federation (WEF). In this episode they discuss how CDC has selected WEF to develop, manage, and provide training for a nationwide network of water utilities, public health agencies, and laboratories participating in wastewater-based disease surveillance. Andrew and Amy explain that wastewater-based disease surveillance has been used to study the presence and trends in coronavirus infections in communities and is increasingly viewed as a valuable tool during the current pandemic and for future public health research.
Steve Dye is Legislative Affairs Director for the Water Environment Federation and Jason Myers is a Partner with Barnes & Thornburg. In this episode Steve discusses how the recent coronavirus relief package passed by Congress impacts the water sector, including the $638 million it provides for a new program that will help low-income families cover the costs of their drinking water and wastewater utility bills, as well as $25 billion in rental assistance that can also be used to help offset utility payments. Jason talks about $275 billion for another round of Paycheck Protection Program funding and the extension of the deadline for using funding from the CARES Act. Steve also reviews the FY21 Omnibus Appropriations package that includes a myriad of key funding provisions for the Clean Water SRF, Drinking Water SRF, WIFIA, and stormwater and workforce programs.
Amy Corriveau is a Vice President and Director of Digital Solutions at CDM Smith. In this episode Amy discusses how the coronavirus pandemic has increased interest in digital water and reshaped trends and tools in the field. She explains how utilities benefited by having digital water solutions in place before the pandemic and ways that utilities tried to adopt technologies during the past six months. Amy also offers advice for steps that utilities can take to get started in digital water in a manageable and cost-effective manner.
Claus Homann is Chief Operating Officer for Aarhus Vand in Denmark and a past member of the Board of Trustees for the Water Environment Federation. In this episode Claus talks about the central place of water in the city of Aarhus and how that has resulted in clean water, a higher quality of life, and economic benefits. He explains how his water utility has shifted to activity based working, an approach that provides a variety of different physical work spaces that align with the type of work. Claus also discusses how he envisions the workplace will change post-pandemic, including continuation of flexible work schedules and locations and use of technology to bring people together.
Kevin Marsh is the President of FlowWorks. In this episode Kevin discusses the increasingly popular practice of wastewater epidemiology in identifying coronavirus in communities and on college campuses. He explains that to accurately measure the presence of the virus wastewater flow data must be normalized for inflow and infiltration in collection systems, and how his company is working with others on this approach. Kevin also talks about the latest in machine learning and automated data.
Art Umble is Senior Vice President of Global Wastewater Treatment Sector Leader at Stantec and Chair of the Water Environment Federation’s Blue-Ribbon Panel on Biological Hazards and Precautions for Wastewater Workers. In this episode Art discusses the panel’s conclusions that occupational risk of infection is low, standard wastewater treatment processes inactivate the virus, and additional research should be conducted to further increase understanding of hazards and protections for personnel. He also explains that the panel updated the guidelines for protection of wastewater personnel from potential pathways of exposure to biological hazards, including coronavirus. The panel’s report is available on Access Water.
Paul Freedman is a Past President of the Water Environment Federation and Co-Founder, President, and CEO of LimnoTech. In this episode Paul talks about using strategic planning to guide WEF through the financial challenges of the 2008 recession and how those lessons can be applied during the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. He discusses how a crisis can lead an organization to quickly reshape its approach to programs with positive outcomes. Paul also explains the critical importance of extensive internal communication during difficult times.
Caitlin Feehin is the RiverRenew Program Manager and Allison Deines is a Senior Policy Analyst at Alexandria Renew Enterprises. In this episode Caitlin and Allison explain that the utility needed to continue construction during the coronavirus pandemic to meet a legal deadline for combine sewer system remediation. They discuss how AlexRenew used information from health authorities and other utilities to develop protocols to protect the health of employees and construction workers while allowing the project to continue. Caitlin and Allison also talk about the importance of messaging to the community during coronavirus, including explaining why and how construction is moving ahead.
Kari Brisolara is an Associate Professor of Environmental Health at Louisiana State University. In this episode Kari discusses a review of current science that finds there is no evidence supporting the transmission of coronavirus through the wastewater system to biosolids. Because the coronavirus is more susceptible to treatment, including heat, no additional protective equipment or measures are required for managing properly treated biosolids.
WEF is convening a series of roundtable discussions with leaders from across the water sector to discuss how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting operations, business, and people. The conversations are hosted by WEF Executive Director Walt Marlowe and explore current impacts, anticipated changes, and future plans in areas such as workforce, productivity, supply chain, projects, communication, and more. The guests for this episode are Kishia Powell, Commissioner for the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management; Paul Vogel, Principal and President of Greeley and Hansen; and Neil McAdam, Senior Vice President at World Water Works.
WEF is convening a series of roundtable discussions with leaders from across the water sector to discuss how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting operations, business, and people. The conversations are hosted by WEF Executive Director Walt Marlowe and explore current impacts, anticipated changes, and future plans in areas such as workforce, productivity, supply chain, projects, communication, and more. The guests for this episode are Rich D’Amato, CEO of Brown and Caldwell; Patrick Decker, CEO of Xylem; Ted Henifin, General Manager of Hampton Roads Sanitation District; Yuvbir Singh, CEO of Suez Technologies and Solutions; and Cindy Wallis-Lage, President of Black & Veatch Global Water Business. The roundtable is hosted by Walt Marlowe, WEF Executive Director.
This podcast introduces wastewater epidemiology and explains what information related to the detection of RNA of COVID-19 virus in wastewater does and does not tell us. Wastewater epidemiology has been used for decades to track the presence of infectious diseases such as polio in communities. It has also been used to aid in the response to the opioid epidemic. Now it has gained a role in guiding state and local public health responses to COVID-19 outbreaks. This episode is the audio from a webcast moderated by Dr. Kyle Bibby (University of Notre Dame) with several speakers including Dr. Mariana Matus (Biobot), Dr. Amy Kirby (CDC), and Dr. Jennifer Murphy (CDC).
During the coronavirus pandemic, water and wastewater utilities are essential for delivery of clean water and sanitation during the response. Ensuring those services during a pandemic while protecting human health and the environment requires strong leadership. This episode provides insights into key considerations for decision-makers and operational staff on the frontlines. This episode is the audio from a Water Environment Federation webcast. Speakers include George Hawkins of Moonshot Missions, Andy Kricun of Moonshot Missions, Todd Swingle of Toho Water Authority, and Bruce Husselbee of Hampton Roads Sanitation District.
Ted Corrigan is interim CEO and General Manager and Kyle Danley is Director of Water Production at Des Moines Water Works. In this episode Ted and Kyle explain how the utility responded to coronavirus by activating a long-standing response plan and having essential staff shelter-in-place at its three treatment facilities. They discuss how 20 employees will stay onsite for two week rotations, working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week to provide clean water and sanitation for 500,000 people in central Iowa. Ted and Kyle say the staff understand they are serving in a public health role and helping their community, and that support is strong from external staff, the utility’s board, and the union.
During the coronavirus pandemic, water utilities are triggering their response plans for continuity of operations. A significant component during a pandemic is a consideration of critical functions that include essential personnel whose role does not allow for telework. Critical services must continue and COOP activities in the face of potentially severe staff shortages and absenteeism are of concern. This episode is the audio from a Water Environment Federation webcast. Speakers include Sue Schneider of Spartanburg Water, Joseph Lockler of Charlotte Water, John Bennett and Taylor Huynh of Trinity River Authority, Dusti Lowndes of DC Water, Cathy Davis of U.S. EPA, Teresa Jakubowski of Barnes & Thornburg, and Steve Frank of SDF Communications.
This episode is the audio from a Water Environment
Federation webcast. During the coronavirus pandemic, water and wastewater
utilities are currently triggering their response plans for continuity of
operations. These events also trigger regulatory issues under the Clean Water
Act as utilities work to maintain compliance during this pandemic. Utilities
need to consider special conditions in their Consent Decrees and/or permits,
consider regulatory obligations and maintain close contact with their
regulators. Speakers include Susan Sullivan, Executive Director of the New
England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission; Fred Andes, Partner at
Barnes & Thornburg in Chicago; Melanie Davenport, President of the
Association of Clean Water Administrators and Director of the Water Permitting
Division for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality; and Shellie
Chard, Director of Water Quality for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental
Dr. Rasha Maal-Bared is Senior Microbiologist at EPCOR and Scott Schaefer is Wastewater Practice Leader at AE2S and Chair of WEF’s Disinfection & Public Health Committee. In this episode Rasha and Scott discuss the coronavirus, its origin, and the agencies involved in response. They explain why the water sector should pay attention to coronavirus, how treatment addresses the virus, and that water workers should follow standard safety protocol. Rasha and Scott say the water sector should stay informed of developments but remain calm.