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/
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.