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


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 approach 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. 

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

10:20 AM    Break

10:30 AM    Breakout Session 1

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 resolve PFAS Issues
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)
Lenny Siegel, Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
David A. Sonnenfeld, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Environmental Studies, SUNY ESF 

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

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

11:50 AM    Poster Session & NY Water MacGyver Session: A Technology Showcase

12:30 PM    Lunch

1:30 PM     Breakout Session 2

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

Siwen Wang, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Clarkson University

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

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

2:50 PM    Break

3:00 PM    Closing Remarks and Refreshments

3:30 PM    Adjourn

Call for Posters

Due Friday, April 5, 2024

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

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.