Water@Wayne Winter 2020

The Winter 2020 schedule for Water@Wayne can be found below. All seminars will be held on Wayne State's campus from 2:30-3:30 on the dates specified below. Locations for each seminar are listed below.

January 23, 2020

Partnership & co‐production of farming and freshwater solutions: A holistic approach

Dr. Catherine Febria, Canada Research Chair and Assistance Professor in Freshwater Restoration Ecology, University of Windsor

Location: Ford Student Activities Center (Room 1520 in the WSU Engineering Building, 5050 Anthony Wayne Drive)

Please register for the seminar here.

In the past year alone, the science has become abundantly clear: our planet has shifted from a state of climate change and biodiversity loss to crisis.  Calls to action globally are shining a light on the need to better incorporate local and indigenous communities as a missing dimension addressing freshwater sustainability.  To explore this knowledge gap, Dr. Febria will present a seminar that places land-water connections in central focus.  Specifically, the seminar will discuss and explore the science of headwater ecosystems, and the critical role of local communities as knowledge-holders, stewards and partners in actionable science at local to global scales.  Together we will explore the hypothesis that small streams are essential to solving global problems.  Headwater ecosystems – small streams, drain networks and wetlands – are hotspots of ecosystem functions and biodiversity.  To study them and protect them both require and depend on local communities to undertake and scale research downstream and across a region.  Dr. Febria will present research tested locally in three different global contexts: urbanising watersheds of Chesapeake Bay (USA), lowland agricultural waterways in Canterbury (Aotearoa New Zealand), and clay-plain watersheds of the lower Great Lakes Basin (Canada-USA).   In all three cases, local communities have been essential in driving science with varying results, all impactful in different ways.  Thus, the seminar will demonstrate how the pursuit of science must change in contemporary times.  The talk will feature examples of actions being undertaken to actively change science culture and its' importance in producing more effective decision-making at a range of scales from the farm-field to the UN intergovernmental science-policy panel on biodiversity and ecosystem services (IPBES).   Ultimately, the evidence is clear: the questions asked by researchers, used to formulate teams, and undertake actionable research must change to ensure better, impactful outcomes for the communities served, and the freshwater ecosystems upon which we all depend.

January 30, 2020

Working Down the Redfield Ratio: the Past, Present and Future of Wastewater Treatment

Dr. John W. Norton, Jr., P.E., Director of Energy, Research & Innovation at Great Lakes Water Authority

Location: Ford Student Activities Center (Room 1520 in the WSU Engineering Building, 5050 Anthony Wayne Drive)

Please register for the seminar here.

The Redfield ratio describes the relative fractions of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other elements in typical microbial systems. The typical ratio is something along the lines of 115:15:1, respectively, for carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. One hundred and fifty years ago the wastewater treatment focus was on carbon because of it's impact on aqueous oxygen concentration. About 75 years ago wastewater treatment began an additional focus on nitrogen due to ammonia toxicity. In the past 15 to 20 years the water sector focus grew to include phosphorus removal due to its role as a trace nutrient in water systems. An evaluation of the typical Redfield ratio elemental concentrations shows the next few elements after phosphorus are zinc, iron, sulfur, and other elements that are not significantly limited within water systems. Essentially, phosphorus is the end of the "growth-limiting" elemental nutrients found within typical wastewater flows. We are now starting to see the increasing treatment focus of specific compounds and classes of chemical constituents driving the regulatory environment, e.g., PFAS, endocrine disruptors, microplastics, and so forth. The rise of these compounds as regulatory drivers will have significant implications on wastewater collection and treatment. The future may see specific treatment technologies used to address specific compounds or co-located "higher cost" treatment processes adjacent to specific contaminant sources. The goal then will be to find the optimal mix of technologies that address and provide as many ancillary treatment benefits as possible to minimize overall costs. This talk will describe these scientific and regulatory drivers, the nature of the emerging new contaminants, and the potential for new treatment regimes to address these issues.

February 6, 2020

Evaluating uncertainty in drinking water lead and copper rule compliance assessments

Dr. Sara Schwetschenau, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Wayne State University

Location: EDC Auditorium (Room 1507 in the WSU Engineering Building, 5050 Anthony Wayne Drive)

Please register for the seminar here.

Lead is a neurotoxin harmful to human health. Historical use of lead in drinking water service lines and premise plumbing dates back to the early 20th century. At locations where historical lead pipe is still in use, corrosive water conditions may cause dissolution of lead into drinking water conveyed by lead pipes. Water utilities typically manage historical lead materials and mitigate dissolution of lead through the use of corrosion control systems to chemically mitigate lead leaching and lead service line removal programs. The Lead and Copper Rule (LCR), promulgated in 1991, is the primary regulation regulating drinking water lead levels and requires that the 90th percentile of regulatory samples collected have a lead level less than the action level (AL) of 15 ppb. Assessment of LCR compliance is based on a limited number of in-home samples and a single statistic (the 90th percentile). These are limited tools for utilities to understand the variability or uncertainty of lead levels across a large distribution system. There is a need to evaluate how existing compliance data can be used in conjunction with new analytic methods to assess system wide lead release and improve corrosion control deployment. The present work seeks to evaluate LCR compliance data collected for Southwestern Pennsylvania (a region with existing lead concerns). First, imputation methods are used to estimate values for samples recorded as below the reporting limit. Statistical model fitting and bootstrapping simulation methods are used to quantify the uncertainty associated with median and regulatory 90th percentile estimate. Results will be used to recommend new approaches for utilities to use to improve understanding of current and historical lead release.

February 20, 2020

Oxidative stress as a potential cost of reproduction and high social rank in cichlid fish

Dr. Peter Djikstra, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology, Central Michigan University

Location: Ford Student Activities Center (Room 1520 in the WSU Engineering Building, 5050 Anthony Wayne Drive)

Please register for the seminar here.

The social environment can have a major impact on social behavior and physiology. Social status is one of the most important attributes of an individual's social environment and rank-associated effects on individual physiology has been used to understand the effects of social stress and socioeconomic status (SES) in humans on disease risk. Typically, individuals with low SES or low social status experience increased social stress and disease risk. However, individuals may move up or down the dominance hierarchy. How do changes in social status alter physiology? Oxidative stress can cause cellular damage, and occurs as a consequence of overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in relation to defense mechanism (the antioxidant system). Investment in energetically demanding activities has been predicted to increase oxidative stress, and dominant individuals experience increased levels of oxidative stress in some animal models. However, little is known how changes in the social hierarchy influence oxidative stress. We experimentally induced social instability in the highly social cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni by regularly altering the number and spatial arrangements of territorial structures. Remarkably, our social stability treatment influenced the oxidative cost of social dominance in males, although this pattern was highly tissue specific. However, the oxidative cost of reproduction in females was not influenced by the social stability treatment. Using a social opportunity paradigm where we induce a transition from nonterritorial status to territorial status, we show that oxidative stress changes dynamically when males are ascending to high social rank. Our results highlight the need to consider social stability and social rank change when studying the physiological cost of high social rank and reproduction.

March 5, 2020

High Confidence Assessment of Future Climate Change Impacts for the Southwest U.S., the Great Lakes Region and Beyond

Dr. Jonathan T. Overpeck, Samuel A. Graham Dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan

Location: Ford Student Activities Center (Room 1520 in the WSU Engineering Building, 5050 Anthony Wayne Drive)

Many current assessments of future climate and hydrologic change suggest that current drylands around the globe could become drier with continued anthropogenic climate change. In some "early warning" regions, such as the Southwest U.S., there is a clear observed trend in this direction. This is particularly true for the region's rivers, where the nature of drought is shifting to a more temperature-dominated climate extreme. At the same time, however, some recent and influential scientific assessments suggest that temperature-driven drying could be compensated by precipitation increases with little net increase to water supply or ecosystem risk. A new approach integrating the examination of temperature, precipitation and drought risk indicate that Colorado River flows, sustainable water supplies, and ecosystems in the Southwest are already being seriously affected by warming, and that continued warming could result in much larger impacts than widely thought, even if mean precipitation increases. The implications of these results have serious implications for terrestrial systems in most parts of the globe, including regions with higher average precipitation (e.g., the Amazon and Great Lakes regions). We are now able to say this with high confidence, strengthening the case for actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

March 26, 2020

The Great Lakes Water Quality Centennial Study: What's changed in 100 years?

Jennifer Boehme, Science Adviser, and Ryan C. Graydon, Ohio Sea Grant Fellow, International Joint Commission

Location: Bernath Auditorium (David Adamany Undergraduate Library, 5155 Gullen Mall)

The importance of clean Great Lakes water to human well-being has been a historic focus of the International Joint Commission under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. In 1913, the IJC conducted a comprehensive, detailed monitoring study of the fecal-related pollution of the boundary waters of the Great Lakes, and the potential link between disease and sewage pollution. The 1913 study remains the largest fecal microbial water quality study in North America, and highlighted the public health risk of untreated sanitary sewer discharges to the Great Lakes, which were also used as drinking water sources..

Recent work by the IJC's Health Professional Advisory Board analyzed water quality changes from fecal bacteria after 100 years, compared to the 1913 IJC study, as part of a Great Lakes Water Quality Centennial Study. Findings indicate that modern sanitary sewage collection and treatment systems have greatly reduced the amount of raw sewage discharged into the lakes. Now the predominant exposure to illness-causing levels of fecal pollution is through recreation, though drinking water-related problems do occur. Many of the beaches in the Great Lakes today still experience high E. coli levels and no-swim advisories from time to time, and additional work is needed to improve public health from fecal-related exposures from combined sewer overflows (CSOs), and a variety of non-point sources.

The Centennial Study report considers the potential for binational investment in a basin-wide fecal bacterial/microbial water quality reassessment using microbial source tracking (MST) methods in a sampling effort on the scale of the 1913 study. This reassessment would develop a binational understanding on reducing fecal pollution (bacteria, protozoa, viruses, etc.), improving water quality, and more effectively address sources of fecal pollution like sewage, manure, and waterfowl droppings to the Great Lakes, especially in fecal pollution "hot spots" that receive a high degree of public recreation.

Today's seminar will provide an overview of the IJC's responsibilities under the Boundary Waters Treaty and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and examine how strategies of the 1913 IJC study could provide a framework for future binational action under a modern Centennial Study.

April 9, 2020

A systems perspective on the role of green infrastructure in urban watershed hydrology and biogeochemistry

Dr. Anthony Parolari, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, Marquette University

Location: Ford Student Activities Center (Room 1520 in the WSU Engineering Building, 5050 Anthony Wayne Drive)

Urbanization degrades water quality by changing watershed hydrology and biogeochemistry. To mitigate negative water quality impacts of urbanization, cities have turned to green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) and low impact development (LID) practices to promote ecosystem services provided by natural hydrology and biogeochemistry regimes. For example, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) has pledged to spend $1.3B on GSI toward their Vision 2035. Understanding and control of hydro-biogeochemical dynamics is therefore a critical foundation toward building sustainable urban systems. In this talk, I will discuss several research efforts in the Milwaukee region focused on monitoring, modeling, and real-time control of GSI for runoff and water quality management. During 2018 and 2019, we monitored soil hydrology and biogeochemistry across several urban green spaces, including a green roof, constructed wetland, detention pond, and urban farm. These measurements demonstrate strong coupling of hydrology and biogeochemistry in GSI at sub-daily to seasonal timescales, indicating that their water quality performance may be highly sensitive to variability in temperature and rainfall timing and intensity. Subsequently, we integrated these field experiments with process-based models to develop a systems-based reliability engineering framework for GSI analysis and design. The framework links hydro-climatic variability with GSI biogeochemistry to forecast a probabilistic characterization of water storage and effluent water quality. The models have been used to develop and evaluate novel design, management, and real-time control strategies to maintain the reliability of GSI stormwater and pollutant retention in variable environments. Together, this work demonstrates the complexity of GSI performance and points toward opportunities for urban water infrastructure adaptation to climate change.