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Speaker Abstracts

DAY 1 (February 20, 2018): Watershed Management and Water Quality
DAY 2 (February 21, 2018): Water Availability and Treatment

  • Innovative Fe-based technologies for Improving Food-Energy-Water Nexus Efficiencies in Coal Producing Regions – Dr. Lian-Shin Lin, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, West Virginia University
              A regional approach using innovative iron-based technologies was developed to enable new food-energy-water (FEW) interlinkages to improve nexus efficiencies in pollution reduction, energy efficiency, and better nutrient management for food production.  This presentation focuses on identifying opportunities for using iron as a green agent in developing innovative Fe-based technologies and demonstrating their technological feasibility. The technologies include a Fe-dosed anaerobic biological process for wastewater treatment, and extracting useful chemical elements (Fe and Al) from acid mine drainage. The Fe-dosed treatment process does not require aeration, which represents a saving of 50-75% of electricity cost compared to typical wastewater treatment plants using aerobic biological treatment. Results showed that Fe/S ratio is a key factor affecting the Fe-dosed treatment process, and overall better treatment performance was obtained under Fe/S molar ratio 1 than ratio 0.5. The AMD-extracted elements are used in making Fe- and/or Al-coated sorbent.  The sorbent is versatile in its applications ranging from removing phosphorus from nutrient-laden wastewaters to for phosphorus management in crop production. Phosphorus adsorption capacity of a Fe-coated sorbent was as high as 0.2 lb PO4/lb Fe. The sorbent-bound phosphorus was bioavailable for tomato growth, which render the sorbent an effective agent for nutrient management and food production.
  • The MUB Monitor: A Source Water Protection and Spill Response Tool  –  Mr. Evan Hansen, President, Downstream Strategies
    In 2014, a chemical leak contaminated drinking water for approximately 300,000 West Virginians. In response, legislation required water utilities to implement new source water protection measures, and in Monongalia County, the Morgantown Utility Board implemented a comprehensive Source Water Protection Program. The MUB Monitor is at the core this program. It provides secure, web-based decision-support tools to utility managers to respond effectively to spills, rank the threats posed by aboveground storage tanks, manage risks from potential contaminant sources upstream from the intakes, and communicate effectively should contamination occur. 
  • Dr. Paolo Farah, Assistant Professor of Public Administration. West Virginia University
  • The Appalachian Water Tower: The role of mountain catchments in regional water security  –  Dr. Nicolas Zegre, Associate Professor of Forest Hydrology, West Virginia University
    The Appalachian Mountains play a critical role in provisioning fresh water ecosystem services to the eastern and mid-western United States, yet the role and reliability of mountain water as a strategic resource is largely unknown. Due to complex topography, the convergence of different weather systems, and extensive forest cover, West Virginia generates a disproportionately large amount of precipitation and streamflow than lower lying regions. West Virginia therefore acts as a water tower to downstream areas, providing water directly to communities in the Chesapeake Bay and Ohio River watersheds that include important and rapidly expanding urban economies such as Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh, PA. This upstream-downstream configuration creates a hydrological and social dependence that should be recognized in order to create new opportunities for water resources management, economic development, and to increase water security across the region. In this research, we quantify climate and streamflow under different climate change scenarios at a high resolution (4-km, daily) to assess current and future water resources availability throughout the Appalachian Mountains region, as well as for regions downstream that are dependent on Appalachian water. In addition, we develop a water tower model to identify locations on the landscape that play a larger role in freshwater provisioning to downstream economies to highlight regional dependence between cities and the mountains. Our water tower model provides an innovative approach for studying coupled human-water systems, potentially offering decision makers a means of prioritizing water resources management across the region to promote economic growth and water security.
  • Treating Effluent Streams at Coal Power Plants  – Dr. Nicholas Siefert, Research Mechanical Engineer, U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Lab
    A 21st century America will need to count on abundant, sustainable fossil energy as well as water resources to achieve the flexibility, efficiency, reliability, and environmental quality essential for continued U.S. security and economic health. Due both to water scarcity challenges in the Western U.S. and to recent EPA effluent limitation guidelines at coal power plants, there is urgent need to develop cost-effective technologies to reduce fresh water consumption at power plants and to reduce effluent waters discharged from power plants. This talk will focus on R&IC’s current and future research and development efforts that are focused on treating effluent streams at coal power plants. This talk will include: (1) a summary of current EPA regulations on effluent discharge from coal power plants, (2) a detailed summary of the current options for treating these effluent streams, such as Reserve Osmosis and Mechanical Vapor Recompression, and (3) a summary of NETL-funded research into overcoming the operating limitations of commercially-available RO and MVR processes.
  • Water Resource Management: The Economic Perspective  –  Dr. Levan Elbakidze, Assistant Professor of Resource Economics and Management, West Virginia University
    Human activities depend on and influence supply and integrity of fresh water resources. While some emerging new technologies enable savings in water use, other technologies, like unconventional oil and gas production, introduce new demands for water resources with implications for both quantity and quality in regional water systems. At times of scarcity, in terms of quantity and/or quality, re-evaluation of distribution may be required taking into account tradeoffs and opportunity costs. The discipline of economics is fundamentally concerned with how best to distribute scarce resources across unlimited wants. This approach generally implies allocation of water to its highest value use. However, because of “non-market” nature of water resources, determination of the value in a quantitative sense is difficult and often requires interdisciplinary approach. This talk will highlight some of the water resource challenges in this region, emphasizing interdependencies between natural and human systems, and will review basic economic principles involved in water resource management.