Cathy Bailey is the Executive Director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works, Randy Hayman is the Commissioner and CEO of the Philadelphia Water Department, and Tony Parrott is CEO of Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District. In this episode they talk candidly about their experiences as Black Americans working in the water sector and reaching the level of utility executive, including sharing examples of discrimination and racism they encountered along the way. Cathy, Randy, and Tony discuss how it feels to be Black Americans in leadership positions and how utilities should address issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
This episode is part of a series of conversations on the Words On Water podcast about equity and the water sector. It is co-hosted by Travis Loop and Rahkia Nance.
In this episode WEF staff provide a preview of WEFTEC Connect, the fully virtual event and online learning platform that offers attendees interactive education, an exhibitor showcase, and networking experiences. They explain how WEFTEC Connect is more than another webinar or virtual meeting – it is a dynamic, immersive learning amd networking experience, that takes the best of our in-person event, reshapes it for the virtual world, and delivers it all directly to attendees. WEFTEC Connect will be held October 5 to October 9 and more information is at www.weftec.org
Jamie Piziali is the Municipal Ombudsman at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In this episode Jamie explains integrated planning, which offers an opportunity for a municipality to meet multiple Clean Water Act requirements by identifying efficiencies from wastewater and stormwater programs and sequencing investments. She discusses her role as an ombudsman and the importance of integrated planning to EPA. Jamie also talks about the agency’s efforts to raise awareness among municipalities about integrated planning and how local governments should pursue the approach as part of NPDES permitting or enforcement orders.
Cordell Samuels is a Past President of the Water Environment Federation and retired Plant Superintendent at the Region of Durham in Ontario, Canada. In this episode of Take It From The Top, a series of the Words On Water podcast, Cordell reflects on his experiences as WEF President and as a water professional that yielded helpful lessons for during the coronavirus pandemic. He discusses how sudden change is difficult for people and tells how as a new plant manager he made sure to connect with every staff member during a time of transition. Cordell also explains that clear communication and a focus on understanding is key across an organization.
Christina Willson is Assistant Regional Manager of Water at Horner and Shifrin and Jennifer Welsh is a Civil Engineer at the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District. In this episode Christina and Jennifer talk about the Collection Systems Digital Conference that opens June 2 and brings attendees a variety of content. They discuss how collection systems are part of the aging infrastructure challenge, the sector’s continued focus on inflow and infiltration, and the ways technology is changing collection systems.
Bob Dabkowski and Steve Myers are Applications Development Managers with Hach. In this episode Bob and Steve discuss the historic and current focus on nutrient management at wastewater facilities. They explain how regulations aiming to improve water quality in streams, rivers, and other water bodies are driving a trend toward more nutrient removal. Bob and Steve talk about ways to decrease costs and increase reliability in nutrient removal, as well as the opportunities presented by changing technology.
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.
Dave Russell is the CEO of Global Environmental Operations. In this episode Dave explains the concept of a Black Swan, an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. He discusses how Black Swan events could impact the water sector and what hinders anticipation and preparation for such situations. Dave provides advice on how the water sector can be more ready and identifies a variety of resources to help.
Katie Henderson is manager of the Value of Water Campaign for the U.S. Water Alliance. In this episode Katie shares the results of the 2020 Value of Water Index, a poll that shows 84 percent of American voters want state and federal leaders to invest in water infrastructure. She explains the support for water infrastructure investment cuts across demographic, political, and geographic divisions. Katie also discusses other findings from the poll including people’s perceptions of local water services, climate change, and PFAS.
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
Celine Hyer is the Water Conveyance Lead for Arcadis North America and Eric Bindler is the Research Director for Digital Water at Bluefield Research. In this episode Celine and Eric discuss how pressures mounting on utilities to address human-centric challenges around affordability and resilience mean new strategies are needed to optimize limited resources. They explain the ways an advanced asset management framework can surpass traditional limitations and narrow U.S. utilities’ funding gap by $62.4 billion over the next decade. Celine and Eric detail drivers and enablers of change, workforce impacts, and steps utilities can take to be fit-for-future and foster thriving communities. Read the paper on advanced asset management.
Tom Ferguson is the Vice President of Programming for
Imagine H2O. In this episode Tom explains that Water Innovation Week will be focused
on “The Next Decade”, with an eclectic mix of water leaders, entrepreneurs,
investors and more exploring what is possible for the sector over the next 10
years. Tom also gazes into his crystal ball to predict that by 2030 there will
be significant investment in water, regionalization/consolidation of utilities,
a flood of tech crossing over from other industries, and a heavy emphasis on
communications and outreach.
Dr. Linda Lee is a Professor in the Department of Agronomy at Purdue University. In this episode Linda discusses the science of PFAS in water treatment, her recent article published in the Water Environment Research Journal, and how her work began 15 years ago when DuPont asked her to help expand knowledge of the so-called “forever chemicals.” She talks about current science on the presence and removal methods of PFAS in drinking water, wastewater, and biosolids. Linda also explains what is known about the fate and transport of PFAS into the soil, groundwater, and crops when biosolids are applied to agricultural land.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.