Annual Meeting

Conference attendees viewing posters and panel discussion

2nd Annual Meeting
of the NYS Center of Excellence in Healthy Water Solutions

May 15-16, 2024 (Wednesday/Thursday)
SUNY ESF, Syracuse NY

This meeting will bring together researchers, partners and stakeholders for in depth discussions and networking as we looked to find cooperative ways to address current and emerging water issues in New York.

Who should attend?

  • Faculty and student researchers
  • Business and industry leaders in the water sector
  • Policy makers
  • Government agency scientists and regulators
  • Lake and watershed associations
  • Citizen scientists
  • Tech development companies
  • Anyone interested in the mission of the NYS Center of Excellence in Healthy Water Solutions


Location: Check-in, meals posters, and main meeting sessions take place in the Gateway Center (building 8 on the campus map).

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

4:00 PM    Poster Set Up

5:00 PM     Check-in

5:00 PM     Poster Session & Reception

6:30 PM     Dinner and Welcome

Thursday, May 16, 2024

8:30 AM    Check-in and Breakfast

9:00 AM    Welcome

9:30 AM    Opening Panel

As a wave of retirements approaches in the water industry, there is a critical need to cultivate the next generation of water leaders. This panel, featuring experts in municipal and utility-focused water workforce development, explores tested approaches to address the impending talent gap. Join us for a series of short talks exploring innovative methods, including building a water workforce pipeline through student engagement, leadership development programs for early- and mid-career water professionals, and effective strategies for attracting and retaining talent. Attendees will also hear insights from the Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center’s national Water Leadership Program. With looming retirements and an increased demand for skilled professionals due to growth, attendees will gain insights into the critical role of ensuring reliable and clean water for New York State communities.

Goals for this panel include fostering discussions on the challenges and opportunities associated with water workforce development, promoting collaboration among industry professionals, and providing practical takeaways for building a resilient water workforce pipeline. Targeted at water industry professionals, practitioners, educators, and other interested stakeholders, this session aims to equip attendees with strategies to navigate the evolving landscape of water workforce challenges. 

Averi Davis, Program Manager, Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center (SU-EFC)
Patrick Lynch, JD, MPA, Program Manager, Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center (SU-EFC)
Speaking on behalf of SU-EFC’s Water Leadership Program

Danielle Hurley, Sanitary Engineer II, Onondaga County Department of Water Environment Protection (WEP)
Speaking on behalf of the New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA) InFLOW Program

Angel French, Chief Operator, 4A, City of Watertown Pollution Control Facility
Speaking on behalf of the NYWEA Work-in-Water Internship Program

Aysha Iftikhar, Fulbright PhD candidate in Environmental Science, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF)
Joining the panel on behalf of NYWEA 2024 InFLOW Scholar

10:20 AM    Break

10:30 AM    Breakout Session 1

Session 1A: Baker 146
Toward a policy agenda for targeted and non-targeted industrial PFAS discharges

Session 1B: Baker 148
Microplastics in Aquatic Ecosystems – Sources and Abundance, Dynamics, and AI-vision Detection

Session 1C: Baker 145
Community-based Water Monitoring

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) comprise a family of thousands of persistent organic chemicals used worldwide in a wide variety of industrial and non-industrial applications. The most well known applications include fire-fighting foams, de-icing sprays, water-resistant fabrics, and non-stick cookware. PFAS are used widely in manufacturing, as well. They are deemed essential for some production processes, including the manufacture of semiconductors. To date, only a few PFAS have been targeted for monitoring, regulation, and mitigation. What is known and unknown about the persistence, mobility, toxicity, and health effects of PFAS? How should regulatory agencies address various risks posed by this large family of chemicals? 

PFAS have been a source of environmental and public health concern for decades due to their characteristics as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in a variety of media, including water, fish, birds, air, solid waste, and soil. Today, PFAS are found across the landscape: in groundwater (including well water used for drinking), streams and rivers, rainwater, and in agricultural fields and products. Environmental health research has established the presence of these chemicals in humans and wildlife; PFAS bioaccumulate, increasing in concentration in animal tissue over time. Environmental science and engineering research is pushing the boundaries of knowledge regarding monitoring and mitigating this family of chemicals, as well as the development of alternatives. Much remains to be learned and accomplished.

Even while science and engineering advance to better understand impacts of the widespread usage of PFAS, how are regulatory agencies responding? How, where, and by whom should PFAS be monitored, reported, and mitigated? What responsibilities do chemical suppliers, industrial users, environmental and public health agencies have to downstream and downwind facilities, the general public, and future generations? What regulatory strategies are appropriate to assess and minimize risks of such a large family of substances, even while the science and engineering of chemical fate and transport, health effects, mitigation, and development of safe alternatives are still evolving? What precautions, best practices, and ‘best available and practical technology’ are prudent and called for? Who should pay for the costs of understanding, monitoring, and mitigating the risks and impacts of this family of chemicals? What public policy approaches may be most effective? 

This session consists of five short, synthesis presentations on scientific/ engineering, environmental health, regulatory, and public policy aspects related to the industrial use and discharge of PFAS into the environment, especially with regard to wastewater and soils. Presenters come from a variety of arenas and perspectives, including scientific, regulatory, and non-governmental. The presentations will be followed by a moderated period for brief comments and questions.

John Przepiora, P.E., Vice President, GreeningUSA, Inc.

Target and non-target analysis of per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFASs) in industrial wastewater
Damian E. Helbling, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor, School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Cornell University 

Navigating uncertainty in toxicology and risk assessment of PFAS – are we on the right path?
Philip E. Goodrum, Ph.D., DABT, Principal Toxicologist, GSI Environmental, Inc. 

The emerging PFAS regulatory regime
Sara H. Latessa, Research Scientist, Bureau of Water Resource Management, Division of Water, NYS DEC
Daniel Rearick, Ph.D., Bureau of Water Assessment and Management, Division of Water, NYS DEC 

PFAS in the agricultural and surrounding ecosystems: Engaging farmers and consumers to action solutions-focused research
David B. Knaebel, PhD, Senior Management Advisor (retired National Program Leader), USDA Agricultural Research Service

An assessment of current and potential future approaches to regulation of PFAS discharges
Donald J. Hughes, Ph.D., Conservation Chair, Sierra Club (Central and Northern New York Group)
Leonard Siegel, Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
David A. Sonnenfeld, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Environmental Studies, SUNY ESF 

Significant quantities of microplastics (MPs; < 5 mm) have been found throughout the world, including in lakes, rivers, groundwater, Arctic snow, and throughout oceans. MPs are a serious pollution concern due to their ubiquity, long-range transport, and adverse ecological/human health impacts.

This session, featuring multiple presentations, will share preliminary research findings on riverine microplastics, supported by Clarkson’s Team Science Planning Grant (2022) and a research grant from CoE Healthy Water Solutions. The following important questions we would like explores: (1) What is the abundance and sources of MPs in rural riverine systems? (2) What riverine dynamics govern MPs transport/fate in riverine environments? (3) How effective is an AI-vision-enabled sensor in detecting MPs in river systems? (4) To what extent can educational outreach contribute to supporting MPs research programs?

Addressing these inquiries will advance our knowledge of MPs sources, detection methods, and public awareness, contributing to effective mitigation strategies in aquatic environments.

Abul Baki, PhD, P.Eng, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Clarkson University

Effects of Rainfall and Landuse on Microplastic Pollution in a Canal Ecosystem
Addrita Haque, Masters Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Clarkson University

Microplastics Pollution Status in a Tributary of Hudson River: Citizen Science Approach
Asher Pacht, Director of Environmental Programs, Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, Clarkson University

The Dynamic Behavior of Microplastics in Riverine Systems
Usama Ijaz, PhD Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Clarkson University

AI-vision based Underwater Microplastics Detection Technique
Md Abdul Baset Sarker, Title: PhD Student, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Clarkson University

In water monitoring with its myriad forms, the greater the breadth and depth of the dataset the greater utility it can provide. Given that many New Yorkers are interested in the quality of water in their waterways, in their drinking water, and of the water on local public and private lands, community-engaged data gathering has become the focus of many organizations and individuals.

In this session, we’ll discuss ways forward for these groups, using environmental monitoring from viewpoints such as environmental justice, or emergency and disaster response in order to protect this universally shared resource; supplementing official datasets with ones collected by citizen scientists, and engaging the community to closely monitor the local environment.

Peter Marchetto, PhD, Research Engineer and Instrumentation Scientist, FieldKit

Best Practices in Community Monitoring Programs

Nancy J. Mueller, CSLAP Coordinator, NYS Federation of Lake Associations

Tom Niekrewicz, NYS Water Resource Institute in partnership with NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program

Jacqueline Broder, President, Basha Kill Area Association

Alex Scilla, Director, NY Environcom

Venn and the Art of Water Quality Maintenance
John Pratt, Board Member, Catskill Mountainkeeper

11:50 AM    Poster Session

12:30 PM    Lunch

1:30 PM     Breakout Session 2

Session 2A: Baker 148
High Tech Manufacturing – Challenges and Pathways Involving Water Technology

Session 2B: Baker 145
Emerging Contaminants and Biotechnology

Session 2C: Baker 146
Climate Adaptation in Water Resources

This session provides national perspectives on what semiconductor and municipal water resource recovery facilities are doing to address contaminants such as TDS and PFAS in their water, wastewater and biosolids treatment process applications. An overview of the regulatory requirements nationally and in NYS will be covered, along with case studies and a moderated Q&A discussion. Attendees will benefit from this discussion by gaining an understanding of the regulations and process options typically considered, but also by gaining insight into how municipal agencies and industry make treatment decisions.

Presentations will focus on water and wastewater contaminant challenges that come with semiconductor chip fabrication, and what the industry is doing to proactively address them. Currently, the water required to manufacture semiconductor chips ranges from 5-10 million gallons to upwards of 50 million gallons per day in facilities operating at full capacity. As technology improves and chips become more complex, water demand is expected to increase. Alternative water source technology via rainwater harvesting at facilities may be a viable option in certain locations to both reduce the demand on primary water supplies and lessen the need for other green infrastructure techniques and standard stormwater management practices.

Opportunities & Challenges of the Semiconductor Industry, John Rydzewski, PE
This presentation will focus on water and wastewater challenges that come with a chip fab, and what the industry is doing to proactively address them. Pound for pound, water is the most used ingredient in the production of a computer chip. Today, the average chip fab requires between five and ten million gallons per day (5-10 MGD) of water, and some fab campuses could use up to 50 MGD at full build out. If unabated, the ever-increasing complexity of chip improvements will only increase the fab water demand. Fab wastewater is some of the most complex and difficult wastewater to treat biologically. Other challenges are high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and other trace metals and chemicals that inhibit biological activity; and the industry is still working on PFAS substitutes. Furthermore, as chip manufacturing becomes more complex, more exotic chemicals – some of which can inhibit biology at part-per-million concentrations – are used and then washed down the drain to the publicly owned treatment works. Other potential impacts include salination of water bodies and biological accumulation of PFAS compounds. According to the World Resources Institute, 29% of the 108 existing and planned fab projects announced in the US last year are in regions with high or extremely high baseline water stress. While New York State is not identified as a region with high water stress, the occasional story in the media reporting on the volume of water used by semiconductor manufacturing signals an underlying concern about water resources in NYS.

Semiconductor PFAS Approach & Solutions, Tom Seacord, PE
While the semiconductor industry has been working toward eliminating PFAS from its processes, Ober et al ( in 2022 concluded that some fluorochemicals are critical and necessary to produce today’s most advanced computer chips, and non-PFAS alternative have not yet been identified. Recently, the Semiconductor Industry Association ( issued a position paper asking lawmakers to avoid “undue restrictions” on PFAS that could hinder semiconductor production. Given the situation, PFAS will be integral to semiconductor manufacturing for the foreseeable future. Given public concerns and regulatory strides, the industry is working to address PFAS its wastewater discharges. This talk (within the session) will discuss technologies to isolate/concentrate and then destroy PFAS compounds; intersecting with fab sustainability efforts.

Rainwater Harvesting as a Dual Benefit for Semi-conductor Facilities: A Source of Process Water and an Effective Stormwater Management Practice
Kyle E. Thomas, P.E., Principal Engineer, Natural Systems Engineering, PLLC
Phillip Reidy, P.E., Principal Engineering Consultant in Infrastructure, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, Geosyntec Consultants
The manufacture of semi-conductors is widely recognized as a water-intensive process and access to abundant water supplies is a key criterion in citing such facilities. These facilities also occupy large areas of land with structures and hardscape, which triggers compliance with stormwater management regulations, including more recent requirements for incorporation of green infrastructure (GI) practices into stormwater pollution prevention plans. The capture and treatment of roof and surface water runoff as an alternate water supply, a process known as rainwater harvesting, can significantly offset the use of primary water supplies for semi-conductor manufacturing processes, especially when combined with processes for water reuse. And as a recognized GI practice, rainwater harvesting can reduce or eliminate the need for other GI techniques and standard stormwater management practices that would otherwise be required to maintain the quality and quantity of downstream surface water bodies.
This presentation reviews approaches and technologies involved in the use of rainwater harvesting as an alternate supply for process water at semi-conductor facilities, the challenges and economics involved in storing intermittent rainwater for fairly constant demand, how that objective can be complementary to stormwater management requirements.

Darcy Sachs, Project Manager, Carollo Engineers

Opportunities & Challenges of the Semiconductor Industry
John Rydzewski, P.E.; Vice President Sustainability, Carollo Engineers, Inc.

Semiconductor PFAS Approach & Solutions
Tom Seacord, P.E.; Chief Technologist, Carollo Engineers, Inc. 

Rainwater Harvesting as a Dual Benefit for Semi-conductor Facilities: A Source of Process Water and an Effective Stormwater Management Practice
Kyle E. Thomas, P.E., Principal Engineer, Natural Systems Engineering, PLLC
Phillip Reidy, P.E., Principal Engineering Consultant in Infrastructure, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, Geosyntec Consultants

Emerging contaminants present formidable and increasing challenges to water security. Many emerging contaminants must be treated down to diminishingly small levels to address concerns regarding long-term exposure, yet are resistant to traditional treatment technologies, generate potentially toxic transformation products following treatment, or cannot be effectively treated to below relevant health advisory levels. The convergence of biotechnology and environmental microbiology has opened new avenues in water research and monitoring, offering innovative solutions to some of the most pressing water-related challenges in New York State.

This session is proposed to highlight how these interdisciplinary fields are contributing to our understanding and management of water resources. It aims to showcase cutting-edge research, facilitate knowledge exchange on innovative methodologies and their applications in real-world water management scenarios, stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration among scientists and practitioners in these fields, and identify challenges, opportunities, and future trends of applying these rapidly evolving sciences and technologies for healthy water solutions.

Susan Bailey, PhD, Associate Professor, Biology, Clarkson University

Yaqi You, Assistant Professor, Environmental Resources Engineering, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Water and Health in the New Era Towards Risk-Based Environmental Monitoring and Technology Assessment of Emerging Pollutants
April Gu, Ph.D., Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University

Biologically Active Filtration for Metabolic 1,4-Dioxane Removal from Contaminated Groundwater
Xinwei Mao, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Stony Brook University & The New York State Center for Clean Water Technology

Unveiling the Potential of Novel Mycelium-Based Membranes for Clean Water Applications
Prathima Nalam, Assistant Professor, Department of Materials Design and Innovation, University at Buffalo (additional author, Mruganka S. Parasnis)

Anthropogenic climate change has disproportionate effects varying in scale and intensity based on social, cultural and ecological contexts. Through interdisciplinary inquiry, this session offers insights into innovative approaches for addressing adaptation challenges and enhancing community preparedness around the question of water resources and its management. Conversations will focus on design methodologies in landscape architecture in the Black Dirt Region and Tarrytown waterfront in the Hudson Valley, adaptation via stream restoration in the Ausable River watershed, and learnings from a community-engaged project to increase flood resilience in West Virginia.

Aishwarya Shankar, Research Aide, New York State Water Resources Institute (NYSWRI), CALS, Cornell University

A comparative analysis of two engaged landscape architecture studios in the Hudson River Estuary
Aishwarya Shankar, Research Aide, New York State Water Resources Institute (NYSWRI), CALS, Cornell University

Restoring Resilience in Adirondack Watersheds
Kelley Tucker, Executive Director, Ausable River Association

Building Community Resilience to Flooding: Insights from West Virginia
Jamie Shinn, PhD, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies, SUNY ESF

2:50 PM    Break

3:00 PM    Closing Remarks and Refreshments

3:30 PM    Adjourn

Posters are full!


The NYS Center of Excellence in Healthy Water Solutions invites poster proposals for our 2nd Annual Meeting.   A key component of the meeting is to provide an opportunity to share research, results, and make connections with potential partners in academia and outside entities. Poster topics should be water related, New York State relevant, and be linked to the following areas:

  • Technology development and research
  • Water science research
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Environmental justice
  • Education and outreach
  • Workforce development and training
Poster presenters will be required to also register for the meeting.

Hotel Room Blocks

Participants are responsible to reserve and pay for their own accommodations.

You are encouraged to make your hotel reservations early as rooms may fill up quickly.  A courtesy room block named “Healthy Water Solutions” has been reserved for meeting attendees at the following two locations:

Collegian Hotel & Suites [Direct booking link]

1060 E Genesee St, Syracuse, New York 13210
Discounted rate of $149 per night.  Rate and availability only valid until April 24, 2024. You can also reserve by calling the hotel at (315) 476-4212.

ParkView Hotel [Direct booking link]
713 East Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13210
Discounted rate of $139 per night. Rate and availability only valid until April 15, 2024.  You can also reserve by calling the hotel at (315) 701-2600.

Additional hotels are in the area, including Crowne Plaza, Syracuse.  See Google map here.


Using an App or GPS?
Campus entrance address: 1000 Irving Ave., Syracuse, NY

Check-in and main meeting sessions take place in the Gateway Center (building 8 on the campus map).

From I-90:

  1. Take Exit 36 for I-81 south.
  2. Follow I-81 south to exit 18 for East Adams Street (follow signs).
  3. Turn left onto East Adams Street and proceed two blocks to Irving Avenue.
  4. Turn right on Irving Avenue and follow it to the ESF campus entrance, next to the Carrier Dome.

From I-81

  1. Take Exit 18 for East Adams Street.
  2. Turn right onto East Adams Street at the end of the exit ramp.
  3. Proceed two blocks to Irving Avenue and turn right.
  4. Follow Irving Avenue to the ESF campus entrance, next to the Carrier Dome.

Sustainable Transportation Methods

Keep in mind ESF’s institutional goals focus on a more sustainable future. Please consider some alternative ways to get to campus. Centro offers a network of services in the CNY area and has a Transit Hub located in downtown Syracuse. Visit their website for the most up-to-date schedules and maps. You can also learn about connecting services to Amtrak, Greyhound, MegaBus and Trailways. Additionally, to move around the Syracuse community there is an electric bike and scooter share program called Veo.

Visitors in need of accessible parking facilities should contact the CoE for assistance in arrangements in advance, or ESF University Police if on campus by calling (315) 470-4996.


No permit is required for attendees to park in these lots:
Attendees should fill up Lot P22 first.
Overflow parking available in the Standart Street Lot.

Lot P22 and Standart Street Lot are shown in the bottom right area of the campus map.  Standart Street is a ONE-WAY road, so you may need to circle back around the block to get to the Standart Lot entrance if Lot P22 is full.

Visitors in need of accessible parking facilities should contact the CoE for assistance in arrangements in advance, or ESF University Police if on campus by calling (315) 470-4996.

Detailed campus map of SUNY ESF in Syracuse NY

Past Annual Meetings