Shea Dunifon is the Education Coordinator for Pinellas County in Florida. In this episode, Shea says that municipalities can shift the paradigm in how they think about engaging the public, especially younger generations. She explains creating teaching materials to accommodate multiple grade levels as well as schools with varying levels of resources because accessibility is an important pillar in her values. Shea talks about creating more informed citizens and filling the water industry’s talent pipeline of the future.
Jon Koch is the Director of the City of Muscatine, Iowa’s water resource recovery facility and Stormwater Department Director. In this episode Jon discusses shepherding a multi-year project that included planning, design, construction, commissioning, and start-up of new facilities to enable co-digestion of food waste and fats, oils, and grease from local food manufacturers and businesses with the facility’s wastewater biosolids. Jon talks about a variety of topics including gathering internal support for the ambitious program, equipment selection, feedstock profiles, setting tip fee pricing, and residuals management.
This is the first of a series of episodes hosted by WEF Residuals and Biosolids Bioenergy Subcommittee Chair Sarah Deslauriers and Vice Chair Dave Baran.
Evan Kirk is the acting Senior Project Director at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina. In this episode Evan explains the practice of integrated planning and the benefits it brings to utilities and communities. He discusses how utilities can evaluate if integrated planning is an appropriate fit. Evan also talks about common barriers to integrated planning and ways the Environmental Finance Center can assist.
Anniestacia Miskel is a water engineer at Arcadis, Lindsey Broderick is a structural engineer at ZFA Structural Engineers, and Gabi Itokazu is PhD Student in Biosystems Engineering at Auburn University. In this episode they discuss UNLEASH, a global innovation lab that gathers top talents to collaborate on solutions that help meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Anniestacia, Lindsey, and Gabi talk about the UNLEASH Hacks, which are are localized hackathons aimed at solving challenges. They explain how the UNLEASH USA 2021 hack focused on developing sustainable, equitable solutions for sanitation issues in Alabama’s black belt region.
Paul Bowen is a former water and sustainability executive at the Coca-Cola Company and a Past-President of the Water Environment Federation. In this episode Paul says the best way to be prepared for the future is strategic planning, an activity in which he participated at both WEF and Coca-Cola. He discusses the need to include risk assessment and risk mitigation in the planning process to lessen the negative impacts of future obstacles. Paul also talks about the importance of debriefings after activities and events, not just to identify what went wrong but additionally what went right.
Dave Ross and Lindsey Mann are Partners at Troutman Pepper. In this episode Dave and Lindsey discuss a preliminary class action lawsuit settlement between the Charleston Water System and wipes manufacturer Kimberly-Clark that could affect any entity that owned and/or operated wastewater conveyance and treatment systems since January 6, 2018. They discuss how the settlement, if approved by a court, would require Kimberly-Clark’s products to meet current flushability standards as published by the International Water Services Flushability Group, implement independent testing, and require educational content and label changes, as well as require the Charleston Water System to endorse these Kimberly-Clark products as flushable. Dave and Lindsey explain that the settlement would have no effect on claims by class members seeking money for harm caused by wipes but would release all claims for injunctive relief by any class member related to any wipe product of Kimberly-Clark.
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.
Paul Petersen is Municipal Sales Manager for Central & Eastern U.S. at Atlas Copco. In this episode Paul discusses the latest technology and trends in aeration blowers, including with canopy design, air filtration, and VSD/VFD. He also talks about the key areas of reliability and maintenance of aeration blowers, as well as how controllers and remote monitoring are improving connectivity.
At Kimley-Horn, Uma Vempati is Senior Project Manager of Integrated Water Solutions, Mark Miller is Senior Water Treatment Speciaist, and Tanya Miro is Senior Marketing Specialist for Water and Wastewater. In this episode they discuss the latest news and trends for PFAS, including challenges utilities face in treatment and a successful project in Stuart, Florida. They also talk about EPA action on PFAS, development of regulations, and how utilities should be preparing for them. Learn more about PFAS and treatment on Kimley-Horn’s comprehensive webpage.
Sam Villegas is Director of Strategic Communications Services at Raftelis. In this episode Sam discusses WEF’s comprehensive toolkit for communicating about biosolids in ways that are factual, science-based, and easily understandable by those who might be hearing about biosolids for the first time. She explains that the toolkit includes guidance on some of the more challenging communication tasks you may encounter—responding to, or proactively pursuing media coverage, handling concerns raised about the safety of biosolids, creating presentations for use at events or meetings with the public, and developing content to post online or on social media. Sam also talks about how the toolkit features messages that serve as an overall umbrella that can be adapted for FAQs, talking points, community meetings, fact sheets, brochures, social media, and websites. Find the toolkit at https://www.wef.org/biosolids/
Tom Kunetz usually hosts the Take It From The Top Series, but for this episode the tables were turned on the former WEF President. In this episode Tom discusses his background in comedy, the usefulness of improve skills in the workplace, and his trainings for the water sector. He shares observations of water management during his extensive travel around the world, the importance of increasing resource recovery at utilities, and how his 30 years as WEF member have taught him that water professionals are a community of passionate people.
WOW: Take It From The Top Hosted by Tom Kunetz (except for this episode, which was hosted by Travis Loop)
Megan Yoo-Schneider is Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Municipal Water District of Orange County and President of Seven Management and Consulting. Donnell Duncan is an Associate Vice President at Arcadis. In this episode Megan and Donnell discuss the efforts by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) to address diversity, equity, and inclusion issues within the organization, among its membership, and across the water sector. They talk about the ongoing work and expected impact of the DE&I Subcommittee of the WEF Board of Trustees and the DE&I Work Group of the House of Delegates. Megan and Donnell explain why they volunteer their time and that transformation in the water sector will be a process. Learn more about WEF’s DE&I work on this web page.
Erin Zaske is Chief Development Officer for Aqualis. In this episode Erin discusses the history and importance of stormwater regulations, as well as the drivers of recent changes. She also explains how aging systems and climate change have created an urgent need to invest in stormwater infrastructure. Erin talks about ways that municipalities and businesses can prepare for future conditions and announces a summit on May 25 that will focus on regulatory compliance.
Jamie Eichenberger is the President-Elect of the Water Environment Federation and an Associate Vice President at HDR. In this episode Jamie explains how without significant funding increases for water infrastructure, there will be long-term harm to public health, environmental protection, social equity, and economic growth in communities, as outlined in a WEF position statement. He says the water sector needs increased and more reliable financing of water infrastructure to address such priorities as aging infrastructure and technology innovation to meet changing regulations. Jamie calls on the entire water sector to advocate for funding, particularly through Water Week and WEF’s Water Advocates program.
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.
Chris Hunniford is Chief Operating Officer of V&A Consulting Engineers and Mark Perkins is President and Owner of Perkins Engineering Consultants. In this episode Chris and Mark discuss a variety of trends in odors including challenges with getting new facilities permitted, the patchwork of regulations across the country, and the continued rise of data, sensors, and other technology. They also talk about the agenda and highlights at WEF’s upcoming Odors and Air Pollutants Conference.
Kevin Davis is the Chief Technology Officer at Middlesex County Utilities Authority in New Jersey. In this episode Kevin discusses his reaction to the recent hack at a Florida utility. He talks about his utility’s overall approach to cybersecurity, the challenges from the size and diversity of a large utility, and approaching cybersecurity for OT vs IT. Kevin also explains how the coronavirus pandemic impacted needs for cybersecurity and why his utility participates in the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center.
Joakim Harlin is a former UN-Water Vice Chair and currently the Chief of UNEP’s Freshwater Unit, and Kilian Christ is Associate Programme Management Officer in UNEP’s Freshwater Ecosystems Unit. In this episode released on World Water Day, Joakim and Kilian discuss the work of UN Water, the role of partners, and why WEF is now a member. They also talk about UN Sustainable Development Goal 6, clean water and sanitation for all, including progress and monitoring in countries.
Mark Doneux is Administrator of the Capitol Region Watershed District in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Capitol Region Watershed District was the overall winner of WEF’s Phase II MS4 Award in 2020 in part for its portfolio of projects that include opening an office facility that features a rainwater reuse system, a new outreach program that engages the public in green infrastructure, and a grant program to subsidize decentralized stormwater infrastructure. In this episode Mark discusses his agency’s approach to stormwater management and the value of following national trends and connecting with peers across the country.
Joanne Carpenter is Director of Research and Development for CHEMetrics and Kati Bell is Director of Water Strategy for Brown and Caldwell. In this episode they discuss the increased viability of peracetic acid for disinfection at water resource recovery facilities and its position as an alternative to chlorine and UV. Joanne and Kati talk about the importance of establishing standard methods for peracetic acid and the value of the WEF handbook on evaluating use. They also explain how a facility can determine if peracetic acid is feasible.
Diane Grossenheider is Project Manager with Black & Veatch and Jen Welsch is Principal Engineer with the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. In this episode Diane and Jen discuss the rapid expansion of tools for using data to proactively manage collection systems, including smart sewers, real-time controls, and GIS software. They also talk about the upcoming WEF Collection Systems Conference on March 23-25, which will feature sessions on the data topic and speakers from around the world.
Rebecca West is President of RFW Consulting Services and a Past-President of the Water Environment Federation. In this episode Rebecca shares her perspectives on leadership, dealing with adversity, and adapting. She draws from her experiences in the water sector, volunteering overseas, serving on the WEF Board during the 2008 economic downturn, and the coronavirus pandemic.
Jackie O’Brien is the Chief Executive Officer of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), a nonprofit recognized as a Charity of Choice by the Water Environment Federation. In this episode Jackie explains how EWB and its 10,000 volunteers work in communities around the world to help provide basic human services including water. She talks about starting as CEO during the past year and how the organization has recalibrated in the midst of the pandemic. Jackie also discusses opportunities for volunteering and how WEF members can get involved in EWB.
Camille Sanders is Membership Director for the Water Environment Federation. In this episode Camille discusses WEF’s revamped Career Center that offers robust opportunities and tools for both job seekers and employers in the water sector. Job seekers can search for available opportunities by job type, industry, and state, receive a complimentary resume review, and access professional coaching and career planning resources. Employers can search and review resumes, post available positions, and increase the visibility of their organization through job advertising. WEF also offers exclusive member discounts of up to 60% on job advertising packages.
Maile Lono-Batura is the new Director of Sustainable Biosolids Programs for the Water Environment Federation. In this episode Maile talks about her background and experiences serving as Executive Director of Northwest Biosolids for 22 years. She discusses her new responsibilities and focus in leading biosolids programs for WEF, including the importance of improving collaboration, expanding communications, and advancing research. Maile also shares her perspective on the current trends and pressing issues in biosolids, ranging from PFAS to public perception.
Matt Bond is Past-President of the Water Environment Federation and Deputy Director for Engineering at KC Water. In this episode Matt discusses the challenges and opportunities during the coronavirus pandemic, including keeping capital improvement projects on track, navigating the financial crunch to utility revenue and affordability for ratepayers, and finding that there is now an availability of talented workers to hire. He also talks about the emphasis on green infrastructure in making Kansas City a more sustainable and livable city.
Jaime Eichenberger is the President-elect of the Water Environment Federation and an Associate Vice President at HDR and Sarah Reeves is vice-chair of the WEF scholarship subcommittee and a Vice President at Brown and Caldwell. In this episode Jaime and Sarah discuss WEF’s new scholarships for water and wastewater operators pursuing education, and training and for individuals pursuing certification to enter the water sector. The scholarship will reimburse expenses up to $5,000 and is available to individuals seeking an entry level operator’s license or licensed operators seeking professional development in municipal and industrial treatment, reuse, collection and distribution, and stormwater. The scholarship application deadline is April 1. For more information and to apply, click here.
WEF’s Student Design Competition promotes real-world experience for students interested in pursuing an education and/or career in water/wastewater engineering and sciences. Individuals or teams of students are challenged to prepare a design to help solve a local water quality issue. Teams evaluate alternatives, perform calculations, and recommend the most practical solution based on experience, economics, and feasibility. This episode features conversations with Student Design Competition judges Bernadette Drouhard and Elias Katsoulas, as well as discussion with students from the winning teams from the University of Guelph and Colorado School of Mines. The University of Guelph team won the Environmental Design category with their project titled Innovative Stormwater Management in the City of Richmond Hill, Mill Pond. The Colorado School of Mines team won the Wastewater Design category with their project titled Nutrient Optimization for Municipal Wastewater Utilities in Colorado.
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.
Janine Burke-Wells is Executive Director of the North East Biosolids & Residuals Association, Eric Spargimino is an Environmental Engineer and Project Manager at CDM Smith, and Chris Wilson is Chief of Processing Engineering and Research at Hampton Roads Sanitation District. In this episode they discuss how state limits on PFAS can impact biosolids programs and that a recent report found management costs for facilities increased by about 37 percent in response to regulations. Janine, Eric, and Chris also talk about case studies from the report, helpful technologies for PFAS treatment, and productive regulatory approaches by states.
Lynn Broaddus is the new President of the Board of Trustees for the Water Environment Federation and the President of Broadview Collaborative. In this episode Lynn discusses her background in water, which includes experience as the Executive Director of Milwaukee Riverkeeper and as Director of the Environment Program at the Johnson Foundation, and how it led her to WEF. She talks about how WEF has responded to the challenges to operations and the water sector overall brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Lynn also shares her thoughts on WEF priorities for the coming year, including diversity, workforce, and its global role.
Moriah Brown, Nadine Robertson, and Kayson Smith-Bejgrowicz are participants in the Water Environment Federation’s InFLOW program, which stands for Introducing Future Leaders to Opportunities in Water and 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 this episode they discuss how little they knew about water careers before InFLOW and how it was encouraging to interact with water leaders that reflected diversity. They also explain how InFLOW changed their perceptions of the water sector and led them toward water careers, with Nadine now working as an operator in New Orleans and Kayson as an engineer in Honolulu.
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.
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.
Frank Houston is Senior Regional Manager for the Eastern U.S. for DN Tanks and Alan Parent is Director of Business Development and Laura Simmers is Preconstruction Coordinator for PC Construction. In this episode Frank, Alan, and Laura talk about a $271 million bio-energy project at a Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission’s facility in Piscataway, Md. They explain the benefits of extensive collaboration in the project, the design-build process, and advancement of biosolids and energy generation, as well as how these are broader trends and opportunities for the water sector. Frank, Alan, and Laura also discuss the deliberate use of woman- and minority owned businesses in the project.
Martin Bureau is the Vice President of Innovation at Logistec Environmental. In this episode Martin discusses the problem of PFAS in water and the environment and the challenges facilities face in treatment. He shares the latest developments in PFAS solutions and the importance to calibrate the solutions based on the nature and size of the community’s specific needs.
Erin Rothman is the CEO of StormSensor. In this episode Erin discusses how cities are increasingly interested in using networks of sensors and cloud-based software for real-time monitoring of stormwater systems. She explains how sensors can also be used for a variety of purposes including evaluating green infrastructure and studying the impact of sea level rise on infrastructure. Erin also talks about her experience collaborating with college students and the creativity they bring to projects.
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.
Steve Myers and Melody White are Application Development Managers at Hach. In this episode Steve and Melody talk about the increasing momentum in the sector for water reuse and nutrient recovery. They discuss how regional differences in water and regulations require different solutions for resource recovery and the technology and equipment that can meet those needs.
Sam Utley is Senior Manager for the Software Sales Engineering Team at Hach. In this episode Sam discusses the challenges water resource recovery facilities face in data, instrument, and process management. He explains how new solutions allow users to analyze and act on data, accurately ensure instruments are functioning, and automate processes to improve efficiency. Sam talks about the ability for facilities to adopt solutions one at a time or take a more holistic approach.
Hossein Zarrin is Head of Water and Tim Mollart is Principal Application Engineer at Element Six. In this episode Hossein and Tim explain how synthetic diamonds can be used in industrial water treatment, particularly to target certain difficult pollutants. They also discuss the advantages of using synthetic diamonds and why more industries are opting to use the technology.
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
Chris Wilson is the Chief of Process Engineering and Research at Hampton Roads Sanitation District. In this episode Chris discusses how his utility is like many others in trying to understand how to treat certain contaminants like PFAS, develop effective tools for doing so, and determine which ones to apply for what end purpose. He says the session he is moderating at WEFTEC Connect on Tuesday, October 6 at 3:30 p.m. will seek to augment technical and policy information on PFAS with a look at where those areas intersect and what that means for water utilities. Chris is known for taking a creative approach to sessions and hopes that makes the content more memorable for attendees.
Katie Henderson is Senior Program Manager for the Value of Water Campaign. In this episode Katie discusses a new report on the Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure. She outlines the report’s findings on the U.S. water infrastructure investment gap, the costs of failing to address that gap, and the economic benefits of closing the investment gap. Katie also talks about how the water sector should use information in the report to advocate for increased funding.
Erin Zaske is Chief Development Officer for AQUALIS. In this episode Erin talks about how hurricanes, tropical storms, and other severe weather pose threats to stormwater assets of utilities and property owners. She explains the need to prepare in advance, remotely monitor during a storm, and evaluate impacts afterward. Erin also discusses the potential negative impacts to infrastructure, property, and budgets if there is not proper planning and how AQUALIS services and products can assist.
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.
Jackie Jarrell is the President of the Water Environment Federation and Interim Deputy Director at Charlotte Water, Nikita Lingenfelter is Speaker-Elect of the WEF House of Delegates and an Engineer with the State of Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, and Stephen Sanders is Director and Head Trainer at The Environmental Training Center at Morrisville State College. In this episode, they discuss how WEF has responded to the calls for equity for Black Americans and the work of WEF’s Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. Nikita and Stephen talk about their experiences as Black Americans working in the water sector and how WEF can improve diversity and equity for its members and volunteers. They also share personal perspectives on racism in America.
This episode is part of a series of conversations on equity and the water sector. It is co-hosted by Travis Loop and Rahkia Nance.
Rick Warner is a Past-President of the Water Environment Federation and President of Warner and Associates LLC. In this episode Rick discusses how during his tenure in WEF leadership he emphasized the concept of partnering for impact, which included the documentary film Brave Blue World as an outcome. He talks about the many synergies that result from collaboration, such as the Nevada Water Innovation Institute at his alma mater the University of Nevada, Reno. Rick explains that he advises students to choose employers with a culture that aligns with their values and ideals.
Zoe Gotthold is a recent graduate of Richland High School in Richland, Washington and the 2020 winner of the U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize. In this episode Zoe discusses her winning project, which involved developing prototypes of devices that promote oil flocculation at the surface and increase the efficacy of traditional oil spill remediation techniques. She talks about how much she enjoyed the experience of the SJWP competition and valued the feedback from judges. Zoe says she will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall.
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.
Dr. Andrew Sanderson is the Chief Medical Officer for the Water Environment Federation, a Gastroenterologist with Weatherby Healthcare, and an Associate Professor at Howard University. In this episode Dr. Sanderson describes his academic and professional background, including serving as a medical officer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a fellow at Harvard Medical School. He explains his interest in serving as WEF’s Chief Medical Officer and how he will focus on the health and safety of the water workforce. Dr. Sanderson also talks about having assistance from a graduate student at Howard University.
Jeanette Brown is a Past President of the Water Environment Federation and a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Manhattan College. In this episode of Take It From The Top, a series of the Words On Water podcast, Jeanette discusses how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted personal communication, which she considers one of the most vital skills of a water professional. She explains the importance of actually listening to others – their words and body language. Jeanette’s advice to the younger generation is to get involved with volunteering and be committed to it in order to most help others and realize the personal benefits.
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.
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.
Lorna Ernst is the Senior Director of Publishing and Andi Cale is the Senior Manager of Publishing at the Water Environment Federation. In this episode Lorna and Andi discuss Access Water, a new platform that organizes the information and technical content critical to the water sector into a single location. They explain it provides approximately 20,000 pieces of content, including conference papers, magazine articles, technical reports, fact sheets, compilations, and books. Lorna and Andi say Access Water is designed to fit the range of the water sector’s needs, from academic institutions that want to provide convenient access to the latest research for students to water resource recovery facilities improving operations through innovation. Visit www.accesswater.org
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.
Ed Holmes is the Director of Technical Training for DN Tanks. In this episode Ed discusses bringing students and young professionals into a company in a way that provides them with well-rounded development and integration into day-to-day activities. He shares his perspective on the strengths, interests, and motivations of today’s young professionals, and how they benefit a business. Ed also talks about the importance of lifelong learning in the water sector.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Fred Andes is a partner with Barnes & Thornburg and the leader of the firm’s water team. In this episode Fred explains the County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, a U.S. Supreme Court case involving pollution discharges under the Clean Water Act, specifically whether pollution from a point of discharge into a groundwater source that can potentially reach navigable waterways must be regulated. He discusses the 6-3 decision, in which the Court ruled that such discharges into groundwater sources may potentially require permits as they may be the “functional equivalent of a direct discharge.” Fred also talks about potential implications of the ruling and specifically what it may mean for the wastewater sector.
Municipalities need federal assistance to fix aging stormwater infrastructure, reduce flood risk, and comply with the Clean Water Act requirements. This episode outlines the asks for federal assistance to help local communities and utilities to protect surface water sources in the U.S. and ensure public safety. Addressing long-term issues of funding, providing effective tools, environmental data and pollution source control are reasonable and practical for Congress and the Executive Branch to enact in water resources and infrastructure stimulus bills. This episode features audio from a Water Environment Federation webcast. The speakers are Steve Dye of WEF and Seth Brown and Scott Taylor of the National Municipal Stormwater Alliance.
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
Sarah Mason-Renton is Business Development Manger for Lystek. In this episode Sarah discusses the vital role of effective community engagement for biosolids projects, including the importance of listening and empathy as first steps. She talks about the public’s perceived benefits and concerns about biosolids. Sarah also explains how to craft a biosolids communication strategy that provides procedural justice and clarity about the decision-making process.
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. 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.
Julie Nahrgang is the Executive Director of the Water
Environment Association of Texas. In this episode Julie talks about the misconceptions
and reality of water and environmental management in Texas. She discusses how
the size and geographic diversity of the state feeds into challenges and
opportunities. Julie also explains what is happening in Texas with communications,
stormwater management, produced water from oil and gas, and workforce
Toby Weir-Jones is the Chief Product Officer for Bayshore Networks. In this episode Toby talks about the water sector’s increasing emphasis on security assessments and what can be done to quickly implement practical solutions without creating a human capital gap. He discusses if the water industry is ready for attacks and how it compares to other industries. Toby also explains the opportunities for increasing security from both accidental and malicious threats.
George Sprouse is Manager of Process Engineering and
Research and Development at the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities and
Co-Chair of the 2020 Residuals
and Biosolids Conference. In this episode George explains the importance of
capturing the energy and nutrients that are concentrated in biosolids and
circulating those resources back into the community. He talks about using
creative approaches to manage biosolids during uncertain times, particularly with
PFAS concerns. George also discusses how the Metropolitan Council uses
biosolids to generate energy and the role of technology in the future of
John Fletcher is Atlantic Regional Manager at Duke’s Root Control and Kraig Moodie is President of FloWav. In this episode John and Kraig discuss the YH2O Mentoring Program that prepares young adults ages 18 to 24 to be employed in full-time jobs in the water industry and is run by the Baltimore Department of Public Works in partnership with the Chesapeake Water Environment Association. They explain that 97 percent of graduates have found employment in the public or private sectors in a variety of positions both in the field and in an office. John and Kraig talk about the program’s ability to transform lives, with many graduates having a checking account, apartment, or car for the first time.
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.
Steve Dye is the Legislative Director and Claudio Ternieden
is the Senior Director of Government Affairs for the Water Environment
Federation. In this episode Steve provides a preview of key issues for Congress
in 2020 including reauthorization of the Clean Water Act State Revolving Fund
and Water Infrastructure and Finance Innovation Act, legislation addressing
PFAS, and grants for SSO and CSO programs. Claudio discusses potential action
on regulatory topics including Waters of the United States, affordability, and
peak wet weather flow. They encourage attendance at Water Week in D.C. on April 27-28
and participation in the Water Advocates
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.