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The Role of Science and Policy: Drinking Water Safety After Fires
Andrew J. Whelton, Ph.D.
Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Ecological Engineering
Director of the Health Plumbing Consortium
Founder and Lead for the Center for Plumbing Safety
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana


Drinking water infrastructure is critical for the health, safety, and economic prosperity of communities nationwide. Extensive and repeated wildfire damage to American and Canadian drinking water systems has exposed gaps in knowledge about infrastructure safety. Recent wildfires have revealed that buried drinking distribution system and plumbing contamination is poorly understood as well as they, themselves, becoming the generators of contamination. Firsthand experiences and results of recent studies regarding drinking water infrastructure contamination and decontamination will be shared. The role of plastics and community needs will also be discussed.

Oct 20, 2021 12:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Andrew J. Whelton, Ph.D.
Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Ecological Engineering @Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Professor Whelton is an environmental engineer and professor with 20 years of experience in the infrastructure, public health, and environmental areas. He is the Director of the Healthy Plumbing Consortium and Founder and Lead for the Center for Plumbing Safety. His teams are called upon to help communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. Whelton’s leadership through research, community engagement, and education has positively changed how government agencies (EPA, CDC, NRC, NIOSH, NIST, FEMA), water utilities, nonprofit organizations, health departments, state legislatures, and building owners approach their responsibilities. Results from his work have been reported nationally and internationally. In recent years, some initiatives have focused on helping communities respond and recover from wildfire damage to utility water systems and building plumbing.