Volume 06|June 2020
Ohio Water Resources Center Newsletter
From Our Directors
Researchers at universities worldwide are exploring the use of wastewater based epidemiology for coronavirus surveillance in communities. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) ribonucleic acid (RNA) has been detected by numerous researchers in feces of both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Wastewater based epidemiology (WBE), although a relatively new paradigm, is considered a complementary approach for current disease surveillance systems and an early warning system for disease outbreaks. The basic premise of WBE is that community wastewater represents an unbiased snapshot of the population’s health and lifestyle habits.

Many groups are currently trying to correlate the SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in wastewater to the number of cases in a particular community. Back-calculating from the amount of viral RNA in wastewater to actual cases poses a lot of challenges, mostly due the uncertainty about multiple factors, such as the percentage of asymptomatic cases in the population, magnitude of virus shedding, virus survival in the collection system, and wastewater flow rates.

Despite the multiple challenges, researchers are exchanging ideas and collaborating to help with coronavirus surveillance. Once fully developed, WBE may become a routine tool for public health protection.
Spotlight
Dr. John Lenhart , co-director of the Ohio WRC and a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering at the Ohio State University, and his research team are working on testing cyanotoxin removal using activated carbon in order to provide guidance to utilities with harmful algal blooms (HABs) to ensure that treatment goals are met.
 
Drinking water drawn from sources impacted by HABs may contain elevated levels of cyanotoxins, such as microcystin, cylindrospermopsin and saxitoxin. A common approach to treat trace organics in drinking water relies on the use of activated carbon, and as a result, utilities are looking to apply this to treat HABs-related cyanotoxins. However, criteria specific to cyanotoxins to assist utilities with determining which type of carbon works best or what dose of carbon to use is limited. To address this need, Dr. Lenhart and his research team are working to establish guidelines that address issues associated with the use of both powdered and granular activated carbon to treat the cyanotoxins microcystin and saxitoxin.
 
Highlights from their work suggest that carbons that have large volumes of mesopores, such as wood-based activated carbon, are better suited for cyanotoxin treatment. For example, a comparison of the adsorption capacities of three common sources of granular activated carbon (GAC) for microcystin-LR demonstrate that the wood-based GAC adsorbs nearly twice as much microcystin-LR as a lignite coal-based GAC and nearly five times as much as a bituminous coal-based GAC (Figure 1). This trend reflects the proportion of mesopores in these carbons, which are pores with dimensions between 2 and 50 nm. Carbons that have high proportions of micropores (e.g., bituminous coal-based GAC) are not well suited for cyanotoxins because of the large size of the cyanotoxin molecules. Coconut-based activated carbon (data not shown), which is dominated by micropores and is a common choice in water pitcher filters, performed even more poorly than did bituminous coal-based carbon. A parallel set of column studies were also performed and demonstrated similar trends in the microcystin-LR removal. Another takeaway from this research was that natural organic matter, comprised of decomposing plant and animal material competes for sites on the carbon and decreases the amount of toxin removed (Figure 1).  Current research is looking at whether trends seen with microcystin-LR apply to other commonly measured microcystins in Ohio (e.g., microcystin-RR and microcystin-LA) or to other cyanotoxins such as saxitoxin.
Figure1. Equilibrium adsorption capacity (mg/g) of three forms of granular activated carbon for microcystin-LR in the absence (blue bars) or presence of 5 mg/L (2.5 mg/L as carbon) natural organic matter. Experiments were conducted with a synthetic fresh water with a composition that mimics that of a typical Ohio surface water (alk = 150 mg/L CaCO 3 ; pH = 8; TDS = 600 mg/L). 
To see other Ohio WRC research projects, visit:  https://wrc.osu.edu/past .
From Our USGS Partner
USGS Responds to Spring Flooding
Figure 2. USGS measures spring flooding at Chesapeake bay's largest tributary
U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring flooding across the country as spring weather is in full swing. Warming temperatures, increased precipitation and snowmelt have caused moderate to major flooding in the upper Midwest, East Coast, Central Plains and the Southeast portions of the country. Crews are in the field to keep the  USGS’s streamgage network  of about 11,300 instruments working properly, perform on-site measurements of flooded rivers, and  measure high-water marks  as flood waters recede. As some states hit by severe weather begin to return to normal, others are preparing for what’s to come or dealing with continued flooding and the dangers that come with it. As snowpack is expected to continue to melt across the West and hurricane season begins on June 1, the USGS will continue to monitor stream conditions and use data collected to prepare for current and future flood events. More information .
News Updates
Have a news article you'd like us to feature in our Newsletter? Email us at OhioWRC@osu.edu!
Opportunities
Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program 2020 Request For Proposals
The Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program will award grants to restore and sustain healthy forests, rivers and streams that provide habitat for diverse native bird and aquatic populations. The Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program will award grants in portions of the Appalachian region of Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. Approximately $2 million is available this year.
Full Proposal Due Date: Thursday, June 25, 2020 by 11:59 PM ET
Applicant Webinar: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 1:30 - 3 PM, ET
Great Lakes Sediment Surveillance Program
The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking applications for a project to complete chemical analysis in support of the Great Lakes Sediment Surveillance Program (GLSSP). Under this competition, approximately $3 million may be awarded for one cooperative agreement over a five-year period, consisting of incremental funding of about $600,000 per year. The deadline is June 27, 2020 . More information .
Conservation Innovation Grants--National Competition
NRCS is announcing the availability of up to $15.0 million in CIG funding to stimulate the
development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Applications will be accepted from all U.S.-based non-Federal entities (NFE) and individuals, with the sole exception of Federal agencies. Projects may be between 1 and 3 years in duration. The maximum award amount for a single award in FY 2020 is $2.0 million. The deadline is June 29, 2020 . More information .
Th e Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Small Business Programs Office (SBPO) is issuing an SBIR/STTR Opportunity (SBO) inviting submissions of innovative research concepts in the technical domain(s) of Chemical/Biological Defense and Human Systems. In particular, DARPA is interested in understanding the feasibility of a Compact Modular Detector for Water and Food Contaminants. This SBO is issued under the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for SBIR/STTR, HR001120S0019. All proposals in response to the technical area(s) described herein will be submitted in accordance with the instructions provided under HR001120S0019. The deadline is June 29, 2020 . More information .
ROSES 2020: New (Early Career) Investigator Program in Earth Science
The New (Early Career) Investigator Program (NIP) in Earth science is designed to support outstanding scientific research and career development of scientists and engineers at the early stage of their professional careers. The program welcomes innovative research initiatives and seeks to cultivate diverse scientific leadership in Earth system science. The Earth Science Division (ESD) places particular emphasis on the investigators' ability to promote and increase the use of space-based remote sensing through the proposed research. Proposals with objectives connected to needs identified in most recent Decadal Survey Thriving on our Changing Planet: A Decadal Strategy for Earth Observation from Space are welcomed. Notices of Intent are requested by August 18, 2020 and proposals are due by September 15, 2020 . More information .
WMAO Student Scholarship
The scholarship offers opportunities to student members and the relatives of members of the Water Management Association of Ohio (WMAO). The deadline of application has been extended to  September 1, 2020  at 5:00 p.m. EST. And award amount is $1000.  More information on eligibility criteria.
Stockholm Water Prize
The Stockholm Water Prize honors individuals, organizations and institutions whose work contributes to the conservation and protection of water resources, and to the well-being of the planet and its inhabitants. All who have made extraordinary water-related achievements are eligible. Call for nominations for the 2021 Stockholm Water Prize will be open March 24 until September 30, 2020 . More information .
Coastal Program - Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
The Coastal Program‐Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a voluntary, community‐based program that provides technical and financial assistance through cooperative agreements to coastal communities, conservation partners, and landowners to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat on public and private lands within the Great Lakes watershed. Awards range in size from $40,000 - $200,000. The Closing Date for Applications is  September 30, 2020 More information.
To find more resources offered by Ohio WRC, please visit: https://wrc.osu.edu/resources
Policy Update
Final 2020 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency submitted the final  2020 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report  to U.S. EPA for approval. The final report is available at the following link:  https://epa.ohio.gov/dsw/tmdl/OhioIntegratedReport .
Withhold Funds-Municipal Water/Sewer Extraterritorial Practices
To amend sections 5747.50, 5747.51, and 5747.53 and to enact sections 9.662, 743.80, and 5747.504 of the Revised Code to create a process for withholding local government funds and state water and sewer assistance from municipal corporations that engage in certain water and sewer practices with respect to extraterritorial service. More information .
  COVID-19 Financial Impact on Ohio's PWSs Survey
The Ohio Section AWWA, Ohio EPA and Ohio PWSs are teamed up to gauge the initial financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ohio's drinking water utilities. A survey will be sent to the Administrative Contracts on file for each system on first Tuesday of May, June and July. You can view the results of the first survey here .
Minor Great Black Swamp Tributaries Watershed Draft Biological and Water Quality Report (2015-2016)
In 2015 and 2016, Ohio EPA evaluated 50 streams in the Minor Great Black Swamp Tributaries watershed for aquatic life, recreation, and public water supply beneficial uses. The Agency is releasing the results from this survey for review and comment. Comments are due by 5:00 p.m. on June 29, 2020 to EPATMDL@epa.ohio.gov. Please see the following link for a fact sheet describing this notice and the draft report:   https://epa.ohio.gov/dsw/wq .
EPA Early Stakeholder Outreach - Plan Approval Rules
The Division of Drinking and Ground Waters (DDAGW) has reviewed rules in Chapter 3745-91 of the Ohio Administrative Code to satisfy the five-year rule review requirements of section 106.03 of the Ohio Revised Code. The rules describe Public Water System (PWS) plan approval.
DDAGW is proposing to file rules 3745-91-04, 3745-91-05, and 3745-91-12 as no change. Click the   web link here   for the complete fact sheet describing this notice. Comments are due by June 26th, 2020 to ddagw_rulecomments@epa.ohio.gov.
Upcoming Events
Re-Imagining Parks and Open Spaces as Landscape Scale Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Source Control
Date: Thursday, June 4, 2020
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
In almost every case, it is easier and cheaper to manage stormwater at the source than it is to collect and treat it after the fact. City stormwater managers are dealing with the fact that stormwater management requires significant effort and resources. More emphasis on source control has the potential to improve system reliability, reduce costs, reduce liabilities, as well as improve water quality. This presentation will cover managing stormwater control at the source and will provide examples of source control using stream, wetland, floodplain restoration, and green infrastructure. Project case studies will be used to display creative adaptation of parks and public spaces to accommodate different forms of green infrastructure. More information .
Webinar Series - A Passion for the Planet: How Musicians are bringing a Voice to Climate Change and the Ocean
Date: Monday, June 8, 2020
Time: 4:00-5:00pm ET
A Passion for the Planet is a new work for orchestra and chorus by composer Geoffrey Hudson. The work celebrates the beauty and wonders of the natural world, and brings attention to topics of climate change, ocean conservation, and earth optimism through the intersection of art and science. More information .
Small Systems Guidance for America’s Water Infrastructure
J oin the experts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) on Wednesday, June 10, at 1:00 p.m. ET. Earn free continuing education units (CEUs) and learn how your utility can meet your AWIA deadlines. Webinar speakers will discuss tools and resources small systems can utilize to develop risk and resilience assessments and emergency response plans that comply with the requirements of AWIA.
To register, please click here .
OSWA Workshop- MS4 Boot Camp Training
Wednesday, August 26, 2020, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
Kalahari Indoor Waterpark
7000 Kalahari Drive
Sandusky, OH
This training will provide all the information and tools your Community needs to manage a successful MS4 program compliant with the latest Ohio stormwater general permit. Ohio EPA will provide insight on the NPDES program and existing successful MS4 communities will share their perspectives on the “must know” and “what’s new” program elements. The session will culminate with a panel question and answer session, where you may ask all your program questions and receive program-experienced answers.
For more registration info, click  here .
OSWA Annual Meeting- Ohio 2020 Stormwater Conference
The 2020 Conference is the 13th Annual Ohio Stormwater Conference and is being held at the Kalahari Resort and Conference Center located in Sandusky, Ohio on August 26, 2020. The conference will provide updates on environmental issues, new technologies, regulatory information and pollution prevention. More information .
Understanding Algal Blooms: State of the Science Conference
The 5th annual Understanding Algal Blooms: State of the Science conference will highlight current scientific knowledge related to algal blooms. Research and outreach leaders will present findings from recent studies and identify important areas of uncertainty. This conference will be held on September 2, 2020 at the Stranahan Theater Great Hall, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd, Toledo, OH. Registration will open on June 15, 2020. More information .
Ohio Rivers 2020 Symposium
Friday, September 11, 2020, 9:30 am
ODOT Central Auditorium
1980 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH
Presented by ODNR Division of Natural Areas & Preserves Scenic Rivers Program, Ohio Scenic Rivers Association and the Water Management Association of Ohio, this event brings together people who share an interest in Ohio’s rivers. Watershed professionals, naturalists, community members and all others who would like to learn and connect with other river advocates should attend. For more registration info, click  here .
49th Annual WMAO Conference and Symposium
Save the Date: 49th Annual WMAO Conference and Symposium will be held on November 4 & 5, 2020 at Crowne Plaza Hotel Columbus North. Abstract due July 1, 2020 . More information .
Have an event you'd like us to feature in our Newsletter? Email us at OhioWRC@osu.edu!
Email : OhioWRC@osu.edu
Phone : 614-292-2807
Website : https://wrc.osu.edu/
Address : 311 Hitchcock Hall
2070 Neil Avenue 
Columbus, OH 43210