CDC Launches New Reporting System and Website for HABs and Associated Illnesses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a reporting system for harmful algal blooms (HABs), as well as a new website with important information for both health officials and the public. The One Health Harmful Algal Bloom System (OHHABS) collects data on HABs and associated human and animal illness. OHHABS is an example of One Health surveillance. One Health is an approach that recognizes that human, animal, and environmental health are interconnected, and that human health, animal health, and environmental health communities can more effectively address many linked health challenges by working together. Public Health Departments and their designated environmental health and animal health partners are encouraged to report relevant information through their state’s National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS) Reporting Site Administrator.  To identify your state’s NORS Reporting Site Administrator, please contact For more information about HABs and associated illnesses for the general public, including ways that people can protect themselves, their families and their pets, visit CDC’s new Harmful Algal Bloom website.


Michigan DEQ Office of Great Lakes Publishes First Part of State Water Strategy

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Office of the Great Lakes has published the first part of Michigan’s Water Strategy, a 30-year plan to protect, manage and enhance state’s water resources.  The Strategy is focused on wise use of Michigan’s waters to ensure healthy citizens, vibrant communities, sustainable economies and stewardship of the state’s water heritage.  It was developed through a collaborative stakeholder process and highlights key actions for government, tribal governments, nongovernmental organizations, industry, academia, local communities and individuals. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s five top priorities for the Strategy are:

  • Ensuring safe drinking water for all Michiganders;
  • Achieving a 40 percent phosphorous reduction in the Western Lake Erie basin;
  • Preventing the introduction of new invasive species;
  • Supporting investments in commercial and recreational harbors; and
  • Developing and implementing Michigan’s water trails system.


This first part of the Strategy was released during a celebration of the annual Great Lakes and Freshwater Week that promotes water education, stewardship and water recreation.  Other parts of the Strategy will be released over the course of the next few months at additional events around the state.  Read Part I of the Strategy and follow its implementation and progress at  Information about Great Lakes and Freshwater Week events can be found at

Draft EPA Urban Resilience to Climate Change Document Available for Public Comment

EPA has published a Federal Register (FR) Notice announcing the availability of a draft document entitled, “Evaluating Urban Resilience to Climate Change: A Multi-Sector Approach,” for a 30-day public comment period ending July 21, 2016.  The document shares results from the use of EPA’s assessment tool that was developed by the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) within the Office of Research and Development (ORD) to help cities identify areas of resilience and vulnerability to climate change impacts in eight different municipal sectors (including water, and public health and emergency response). It also demonstrates how the tool’s assessment method provides useful information for future adaptation planning for different types of cities and shares case studies from Washington, DC and Worcester, Massachusetts with specific information about drinking water infrastructure and supply impacts.

The FR Notice also announces that EPA’s contractor will select four independent experts from a pool of eight to conduct an external scientific peer review of the same draft document.  For more information and to download the document, visit EPA’s website HERE. To view the FR Notice and provide comments, go HERE.  For technical information, please contact Susan Julius of EPA’s NCEA at or 703-347-8619.


EPA Webinar on Contaminants of Emerging Concern

EPA’s Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Research Program will host a webinar on “Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) in Source and Treated Drinking Water,” on June 29 from 2:00pm – 3:00pm (eastern). This presentation will discuss findings from an EPA and USGS study on the occurrences of CECs in both source water and treated drinking water across the US. Register for the webinar HERE.

HABs State of the Science Webinar

The Great Lakes HABs Collaboratory, in collaboration with Ohio Sea Grant and LimnoTech, will host a Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) State of the Science webinar June 23rd from 1:00-2:00 pm (eastern) as part of their series focused on the latest research related to HABs in the Great Lakes.  The topic of this webinar is “HABs Blooms Sources & Movements,” where presenters will share ongoing research projects about the roles and dynamics of nutrients that affect HABs. Register for the webinar here.

Virginia Water Resources Protection and Emergency Response Seminar Held Last Week

On June 9th, the Virginia Section AWWA held the “2016 Water Resources: Protection, Monitoring, & Emergency Response Seminar,” in Richmond, Virginia.  Representatives from water utilities, consulting firms, and ASDWA staff attended.  Highlights from the seminar included the following.

  • Roy Soto from the Virginia Drinking Water Program provided an overview of the state’s efforts to assist water utilities with emergency management planning and source water protection efforts. These include:  new updates to the state’s GIS system with overlays for land use, 303(d) impairments, geology and soils, and satellite imagery; contractor assistance for source water assessment and protection activities; and grants for emergency management planning.
  • Donald Rice from Newport News Waterworks shared information about: protecting their water sources through historical land ownership; managing forests; implementing best management practices; applying algaecide on reservoirs; conducting monitoring; and working with local fire departments and Colonial Pipeline operators to practice emergency preparedness in the event of a spill or other emergency.
  • Rich Gullick of Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority spoke about the history of source water protection and the challenges associated with implementation and national measures reporting. He also shared information about Rivanna’s efforts to conduct a reservoir management study, manage algae, develop source water protection plans for their smallest water sources with help from Virginia’s contractor, and work with agricultural partners.
  • Melissa Rosenbladt of Corona Environmental Consulting presented their “WaterSuite” GIS tool that they developed for the Washington, DC area regional water utilities that identifies potential sources of contamination that could pose an acute risk to drinking water quality along the Potomac River. The tool combines data from Federal, state, local and private sources, along with analysis and reporting functions.
  • Barry Dunkley of the City of Danville spoke about the 2014 coal ash spill on the Dan River as well as a water quality study and increased Powdered Activated Carbon(PAC) treatment efforts they are conducting to address a current taste and odor problem of an unknown origin.
  • Jamie Morris of the Western Virginia Water Authority presented information about a research project with Virginia Tech to manage eutrophication, and associated algae and nutrients, on one of their small drinking water supply reservoirs using hypolimnetic oxygenation.

For more information about the State of Virginia’s efforts in these areas, visit the source water protection web page and emergency planning tools web page.




The Source Water Collaborative Shares 2015 Accomplishments Report

The National Source Water Collaborative (SWC) has published its first Accomplishments Report.   The report highlights a sampling of the SWC members’ individual and collaborative efforts undertaken in 2015, though all of their efforts far exceed the capacity of the report to tell the story.  The report also includes an introduction to the new SWC website and a summary of the projects taking place in 2016, such as the “Reinforce the Source” Innovation Challenge.  View and download the report from the website HERE.