Poster Presentations

When:
Thursday, October 12, 2017
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm


Title:
Of Space and Purity, Cost, and Convenience: barriers to latrine adoption in coastal South India

Author(s):
Shaifali Prajapati and Luke Juran
Virginia Tech

Abstract:
The UN Sustainable Development Goals seek to reduce the number of individuals without access to a latrine or toilet by one half. Given such an ambitious goal, this poster investigates why individuals choose to use, or not use, latrines in India. The region was affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami, and as a result many villages were reconstructed villages that were provided latrines free of cost from relief organizations. Survey data from 254 households encompassing 1,154 individuals were used to test for factors that affect latrine use. GLM and GLMM tests indicate sex, income, and education are significant factors, while political geography was not determined to be significant. Interviews and focus groups revealed that hygiene, also reported as primary rationale for not using latrines. Furthermore, issues of cultural purity, location of the latrine in the household, and the relative value of latrine space when put to other uses surfaced as rationale for not using latrines.


Title:
Evaluation of the Potential Exposure to Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material Spill into a River

Author(s):
David McCready, PhD, PE, QEP
EnviroCalc, PLLC

Abstract:
The produced water from gas well drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation typically contains high concentrations of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM). The capability to evaluate the potential exposure to radioactive material in a spill of produced water is necessary to determine if there is health risk to the public. Two screening level models were used to predict the concentrations of radioactivity from a hypothetical tank truck spill of 5,000 gallons of produced water into a creek and river.


Title:
Remote Sensing Techniques for the Valley Creek Watershed’s Headwaters

Author(s):
William Akin
Pennoni

Abstract:
Headwater streams constitute approximately 75 percent of the total stream and river length in the United States and supply 70 percent of the overall water volume to a watershed. With this in mind these small streams can be used as strong indicators of the water quality and biodiversity within a watershed. Due to the fact that headwaters are on a smaller scale in size, they are highly influenced by increased urbanization compared to higher order streams. With the advancement of today’s online data resources, remote sensing techniques can be directly applied to watershed management and planning for these smaller catchments. This case study will examine the Valley Creek Watershed’s headwaters by utilizing data sets, such as LiDAR and GIS shapefiles, to take inventories of characteristics such as impervious cover and forested buffers that help and hurt first and second order streams. The results will correlate relationships that support existing theory of the impairment of freshwater streams that can be used for future watershed planning.


Title:
Forested Buffers a Natural and Managed BMP

Author(s):
William Akin
Pennoni

Abstract:
Forested buffers are not completely understood but they are required in many of our development areas where streams exist. They can be used as an effective BMP for first and second order streams but there are many factors that affect how effective a buffer can be. Primarily the current view on buffers is related to its width alone, which is a good starting point. There are other factors though, such as slope, tree type, natural versus managed stands of trees, and time of the year. How effective can planning agencies utilize these buffers to enhance water quality if there are so many variables that go into determining the effectiveness of a buffer? Tree surveys, water budgets, and remote sensing can be used to help determine each site’s potential as it pertains to stream corridor management. This presentation will depict each facet of a buffer that will aide in the development of a plan that can be used in watershed management and a workflow will be presented to best utilize our natural landscapes to protect first and second order streams.


Title:
Changes in best management practices monitoring and enforcement and their impact on forest harvesting efforts

Author(s):
William McCormick
Davis College
West Virginia University

Abstract:
Forestry Best Management Practices are environmental regulations established to mitigate soil erosion. West Virginia established BMPs to reduce soil erosion into watersheds on harvested sites throughout the state. The state agency charged with the responsibility for inspecting harvested sites was the West Virginia Division of Forestry. Budget cuts forced the WV DOF to suspend BMP related inspections for all timber harvests after July 1, 2016. The objective of this study is to analyze BMP compliance by loggers on sites harvested after inspections ceased to determine the level of BMP compliance that occurred without inspection from the WV DOF and to quantify the impact the lack of BMP inspections has had relative to soil erosion. A measurable set of criteria has been developed for this study to evaluate site BMPs. These criteria will be applied to several samples of harvest sites across the state. This study will measure compliance by loggers across the states. BMPs are an integral part of water quality protection and the implications of their absence on harvested sites are far reaching.


Title:
Causes of Change of Irrigation in the Eastern United States

Author(s):
Lauren Glinko
University of Delaware

Abstract:
Irrigation historically has not occurred on the East Coast of the United States, but in recent few decades, irrigation has begun to occur on the East Coast. It has been assumed that corn has been the driving factor of the irrigation wave on the East Coast, but there has been no empirical data supporting this. Our goal was to analyze this increase of irrigation in Delaware using irrigation points (year 2010, created by James Atkins) along with National Agricultural Statistics Service Cropscape Data for the year of 2015. These data sets then compared the available water capacity derived through the SSURGO Web Soil Survey. The water capacity data was broken up into quintiles to discover which of the ranges held more corn. The soil that had lower available water capacity had a significantly larger amount of corn grown on irrigated land, which was surprising because this usually represents a lighter soil that can hold less water. The heavier soils which have a higher capacity of water available, cultivated less corn which is surprising because these soils can hold more water, but they cultivated less corn on these soils. This trend was continued with the soybean crop as well.


Title:
Using Environmental DNA to Assess Appalachian Stream Species Composition

Author(s):
Yvette Halley
West Virginia University

Abstract:
Historically, wildlife and fisheries management depended on visual detection methodology to analyze species distribution. However, some species proved to be more problematic to detect and monitor because of their location, behavioral characteristics, and low population densities. Recently, advances in the processing and analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) have enabled researchers to detect aquatic vertebrates that might previously have been challenging to observe. Organisms constantly shed cellular material into the environment, facilitating detection of the organism’s DNA. We utilized an aqueous environmental DNA filtering approach, chloroform-isoamyl extractions, quantitative PCR (qPCR) and next-generation sequencing (NGS) methods to assess the species composition of amphibians and fish in West Virginia streams.


Title:
Monitoring surface water quality in the Marcellus Shale Region

Author(s):
Joseph Wickline
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
West Virginia University

Abstract:
There has been an extraordinary growth in the production of natural gas within the Marcellus Shale region in the past two decades. This sharp increase in production corresponds to an increased risk to surface waters from spill events related to the industry. At present, there are some private organizations and government agencies which monitor water quality in the region using continuous monitoring. However, there are no protocol in place to use data from continuous monitoring stations to quickly detect contamination resulting from spills related to the natural gas industry. This study seeks to develop a data processing protocol to detect spill events. The protocol will use continuous monitoring data to establish natural background behavior of water quality data, and detect significant disturbances which could be the result of spill events.


Title:
Acid Mine Drainage seepage analysis and slope stability in a coarse coal refuse reclamation

Author(s):
Luri Lira Santos
West Virginia University

Abstract:
This study aims to simulate and analyze a regraded slope performance under a one hundred years storm event. The project is a cap and cover system composed by 2 cover layers and a coarse coal refuse fill. The first cover layer is a 2 ft. compacted barrier layer (hydraulic barrier) and second is a growth layer, to allow grass to cover the slope. The focus of the analysis will be effectiveness of the hydraulic barrier layer and the final slope stability of the system. The procedure to develop this study was a collection of elevation points from Lorimer (2016) final design for Royal Scot project. The selected slope was one with a grade of 2:1. After elevation collection, points were imported to a 3D finite element modeling program, where weather and material strength can be simulated. Results from the modeling proves that for a one hundred years storm event, the slope still stable, with a factor of safety of 1.3 at the growth layer (shallow failure) and 1.9 for the fill and compacted (deep failure). The effectiveness of the growth layer was proved by degree of saturation of 20% at the interface between the fill and the hydraulic barrier a after the rainstorm event.


Title:
Exploring the use of short paper fiber as a soil amendment in coal refuse

Author(s):
Levi Cyphers
Department of Civil Engineering
West Virginia University

Abstract:
Innovative reclamation strategies are needed in the coal producing region of Central Appalachia to reduce sediment yield and manage water quality concerns. This study tested the effect of adding short paper fiber as a soil amendment to help establish vegetative cover in coarse coal refuse. Two blends of short paper fiber and refuse were tested (i.e., 80% refuse with 20% short paper fiber and 60% refuse with 40% paper fiber) as well as a control sample containing only coal refuse. All samples were tested using the same seeding mixture in identical growing conditions for 16 weeks. Ground cover, stem height and biomass were monitored. Maximum ground cover was observed in the 80/20 blend (=77.1%). Ground cover in the refuse samples did not exceed 0.5%. Similar results were observed with biomass measurements. Therefore, the addition of short paper fiber shows potential to support vegetation establishment in coarse coal refuse and will be tested at a large scale (~0.6 acre plots) on a coarse coal refuse pile in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. The large-scale testing will also introduce the use of compacted low permeability barrier and will include water quality monitoring.


Title:
Characterization of Gross Solids from Highway Storm Inlet Cleaning for TMDL Compliance

Author(s):
Saliha Khan & Hossein Pezeshkan
Morgan State University

Abstract:
Highway systems are potential sources for a wide variety of pollutants and gross solids, which can impact nearby water resources following storm events. Gross solids are a combination of organic debris, litter, and coarse sediments. This study aims to characterize the gross solids cleaned from Maryland’s highway storm inlets and is funded by State Highway Administration (SHA). Inlet cleaning practices will be investigated to determine appropriate crediting for TMDL compliance and to collect information that could support enhancements to the existing credit allowed by Maryland’s Department of the Environment. Characterization will be done using physical and chemical EPA standard methods. Physical analysis will include separating the solids into organic debris, litter, and coarse sediments, and finding the mass materials and size distribution of the sediment. Chemical analysis will test for total nitrogen and total phosphorus. This study commenced in March 2017 and will provide data to inform recommendations to optimize pollutant load reduction credits for SHA inlet cleaning via programmatic decision support and provide information that can potentially improve the credit allowed.


Title:
Power Dynamics in Collaborative Management: An Alaskan Case

Author(s):
Rob Alexander
Assistant Professor at James Madison University
Associate Director of the Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue

Abstract:
One of the greatest challenges facing the mitigation of watershed degradation is the array of property owners involved. Any watershed-wide management must entail collective action landowners who often have competing or even incompatible interests. Such coordination subsequently engenders high transaction costs that create disincentives for collaborative behaviors. The research adds to this literature by examining the interaction between stakeholder identities and perceptions of power. Specifically, this paper describes the case of the Copper River watershed in southeast AK.


Title:
Nutrient Uptake in Degraded Versus Restored Sections of Urban Streams within the City of Newport News, Virginia

Author(s):
Brendan Player
Graduate Student
Christopher Newport University
Newport News, Virginia

Abstract:
Stream restorations have become an increasingly more common method of mitigating the harmful effects of nutrient pollution from urbanizing environments. These effects include eutrophication, vertebrate and invertebrate population decline, and the increased production of cyanotoxins. Despite financial investment across the coastal United States, few projects have been evaluated for nutrient uptake rates, lengths and velocities before and after completion, and fewer evaluate these functions along a chronosequence. The purpose of this study is to determine the nutrient spiraling characteristics of nitrate and phosphate within 6 urban stream restorations in Newport News, Virginia. Nutrient uptake will be presented for degraded and restored sections of streams. Conservative sodium chloride and non-conservative potassium nitrate and potassium phosphate solutions will be injected as instantaneous additions to measure nutrient uptake through tracer mass recovery. These results will provide key insights into the impact of stream restorations on nutrient retention across a chronosequence.


Title:
Statistically Evaluating Water Consumption Historically and Across Multiple Users in Virginia

Author(s):
Morgan DiCarlo
Graduate Student
Department of Biological Systems Engineering
Virginia Tech

Abstract:
Virginia boasts plentiful water resources, however, the need for more stringent water management is rising as population increases and climate changes grow more pronounced. This study summarizes key trends to inform future water supply needs in Virginia via a broad-scale analysis of multiple water users through long term historical records from Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. A full spectrum of users is considered, including industrial, agricultural and municipal. We also aim to identify the explanatory variables driving water use behaviors, such as climate, economics and land cover. We explore a novel implementation of panel regression methods on water use data, which can be widely applied to similar regions which also have varied land cover, population density and water use determinants.


Title:
Enhancing Watershed Nitrogen and Phosphorus Removal through Dual Treatment Technologies

Author(s):
Christine Lepine
The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute
Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Abstract:
Dual nutrient loss reduction goals to address both nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) loadings have been established in many areas including the Chesapeake Bay watershed (USEPA, 2013, 2015). Both point source effluents and diffuse nutrient sources are suitable for dual nutrient removal technologies to address these goals. Denitrifying bioreactors using woodchips to fuel heterotrophic denitrification are simple N treatment systems that have moved beyond the proof of concept. Their most common application is the treatment of nitrate in agricultural tile drainage, although their use has much wider potential. Phosphorus filters are a relatively new technology that reduce P via media such as steel byproducts and oxides to either adsorb (Al- or Fe-based media) or precipitate (Ca- or Mg-based media) dissolved P. While denitrifying woodchip bioreactors and P-sorbing filters have been trialed together, placement of the P-filter relative to the denitrifying system to maximize N and P removal and minimize pollution swapping under varying conditions is unclear. This study also compared P-filters composed of Fe-based acid mine drainage treatment residuals to Ca-based steel slag.


Title:
Construction and Application of a Contextualized, Multiscalar Water Poverty Index in Coastal India

Author(s):
Breeanna Prince and Luke Juran
Virginia Tech
Virginia Water Resources Research Center

Abstract:
This poster presents a modified Water Poverty Index (WPI) that captures several waterscape attributes to better understand complex issues surrounding water. Household surveys (n=507), water quality tests (n=632), and qualitative methods were deployed to examine 24 villages in Nagapattinam and Karaikal Districts, India, through the lens of water. Data were used to develop a contextualized, participant-driven WPI to measure water poverty at several scales across five place-based indicators: quality, quantity, access, secondary water sources, and capacity. Statistical tests (t-tests and Pearson chi-square) revealed significant differences between the two districts and at the rural-urban scale within each district, and three weight schemes (one dictated entirely by research participants) produced analogous outcomes but predicated on different indicator arrangements. Furthermore, geospatial analyses (Local Moran’s I) revealed significant positive autocorrelation among the indicators and WPI scores across the three weight schemes, which means the water issues exhibit spatial clustering. Results can be leveraged by local decision makers to allocate scarce capital more efficiently.


Title:
A New Model for Vertical Seepage in Karst Lake Environments

Author(s):
Chris Slater
Ph.D. Candidate
University of South Florida

Abstract:
Proper resource management of water catchments is essential to communities, wildlife, and industry. Previously, geoscientists and hydrologists have over-simplified hydrologic model parameters of lakes. This has led to inaccuracies of the lake leakage rate; models are not widely applicable due to not enough lakes being tested. To support West-Central Florida, engineered hydrology and hydrogeology calibration techniques are functioning methods used to discover the water budget dynamics for selected lakes within the domain. We have produced a model with more parameters, to test lake beds in karst lakes. Surface water interactions with aquifers were modeled with the Hydrological Simulation Program-Fortran (HSPF) application and Geographical Information System (GIS); groundwater application is modeled using the model MODFLOW. Tested against lake content data collected in a 16-year span, the model more accurately forecasts vertical seepage than previous models. The model is good at representing leakage from the lake bed; important for estimating the remaining water quantities and producing the best water resource management strategies.