Event Cover Image
Event Image
Is your utility concerned about the new Lead and Copper Rule Revisions and upcoming PFAS regulations? Join the Drinking Water Quality and Research Committee for a seminar discussing the impacts of the new rules, treatment techniques, and how to communicate with customers regarding these regulations. Utility Management and Engineers, Treatment Plant Operators, Customer Service Representatives, Public Affairs Personnel, and Consultants will benefit from this series. Don’t miss out on a fantastic group of speakers and the chance to earn up CPE credits VIRTUALLY! 

What's up with Forever Chemicals (PFAS), Lead, and Real-time Customer Communications?

This three-part webinar series will feature presentations by nationally recognized speakers on topics with local relevance.  Below is an overview of the program.  Scroll to the bottom of the page for more in-depth information about each speaker and their session.  

Part 1:  PFAS  |  May 13  |  10 - 11:30 AM

  • Overview: PFAS
    Dr. Tony Singh, Virginia Department of Health, Office of Drinking Water
  • Health Effects of PFAS
    Dr. Dwight Flammia, Virginia Department of Health
  • Optimizing Treatment for PFAS Removal in Ann Arbor, MI
    Brian Steglitz, City of Ann Arbor, MI
Part 2: Lead  |  May 20  |  10 - 11:30 AM
  • Overview: LCR Revisions
    Steve Via, American Water Works Association
  • Denver Water's Lead Reduction Program
    Alexis Woodrow, Denver Water
  • Managing Lead Corrosion Under the Revised Lead and Copper Rule (LCRR)
    Dr. Phil Brandhuber, Brandhuber Water Quality & Treatment LLC
Part 3:  Communications  |  May 27  |  10 - 11:30 AM
  • Overview:  Communications
    Susan Miller, Fairfax Water
  • Preparing Your Public Communications for the Revised Lead & Copper Rule
    Mike McGill, WaterPIO
  • Communicating PFAS and Lead to the Press and the Public
    Mike McGill, WaterPIO
Continuing Education Credits will be provided for engineers (1.5 PDH per session).  Operator credits are pending.
For more information, please contact Michele Maclauchlan (mac070@henrico.us) or Roger Arnold (rarnold@hazenandsawyer.com).


Full Series

Member  |  $70
Non-member  |  $100
Retiree  |  $30
Student  |  $20

Single Day

Member  |  $30
Non-member  |  $45
Retiree  |  $15
Student  |  $10
Note to last year's attendees - Don't forget to enter your special PROMO code to receive your credit from our 2020 training event.  You should have already received an email from Geneva Hudgins with your code.  If you did not, please email her at geneva.hudgins@vaawwa.org

Seminar Preview

Part 1: PFAS  |  May 13  |  10 - 11:30 AM

Overview - Dr. Tony Singh

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Singh is an environmental engineer and public health professional with a background in conventional and emerging environmental contaminants, treatment technology development, and their association/impacts with human health. Dr. Singh is currently working as Deputy Office Director for the VDH Office of Drinking Water since May 2019. He has over 18 years of work experience in the environmental engineering field.  At ODW, his primary focus is on the field operations (via six ODW field offices), and Division of Technical Services functions.  He is also coordinating Commonwealth's efforts on new regulatory actions such as recently passed two PFAS legislations, and four legislations on lead in drinking water at schools and childcare centers. He is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in Virginia and Washington, a Board-Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE), and a Certified Safety Professional (CSP). He holds a Ph.D. Degree in Chemical / Environmental Engineering with Masters in Environmental Science & Engineering as well as Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of Virginia. His current and past research interests focused on water and health that typically involves a translational or interdisciplinary approach. The goal of his work was to characterize the interrelationship between water and health that would facilitate risk assessment, prevention or treatment of these chemicals thus protecting public health. 

Health Effects of PFAS - Dwight Flammia, VDH


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are human-made chemicals that are used in a wide array of consumer and industrial products including stain- and water-resistant fabrics and fire-fighting foams. PFAS are resistant to environmental degradation and blood tests have shown that they accumulate in humans and eliminate slowly from the body. Human and animal evidence suggests that these chemicals may adversely impact health. Epidemiological studies of populations exposed to PFAS at work and in communities near PFAS industrial sources suggests that high levels of certain PFAS may lead to increase cholesterol levels, changes in liver enzymes, decreased vaccine response, increased risk of high blood pressure in pregnant women, and increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer. Animal studies are another source of data used to evaluate the health impacts of PFAS and are used in developing drinking water standards.

Speaker Bio:

Dwight Flammia, Ph.D. is the State Public Health Toxicologist for the Virginia Department of Health. He has worked in this role since 2009. Dwight’s primary roles at the health department include the identification of potential health hazards resulting from exposure to certain chemical or biological agents; and the assessment and subsequent recommendations to abate or reduce any resulting health effects. Prior to that, he worked at the Department of Forensic Toxicology for eight years where he identified chemicals in biological samples and provided expert witness testimony in court. He received his doctorate from the Medical College of Virginia in Medicinal Chemistry in 1999 and a bachelor’s degree of science in chemistry from the Virginia Commonwealth University in 1994. Dwight is a member of the Society of Toxicology and served on the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Advisory Board at Virginia Commonwealth University. He recently served on the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board.

Optimizing Treatment for PFAS Removal in Ann Arbor, MI - Brian Steglitz, City of Ann Arbor


The City of Ann Arbor operates a 50 MGD lime-softening water treatment plant that serves approximately 125,000 people in southeast Michigan.  In 2014 PFOS was first detected in the city’s finished water at a concentration of 43 ppt.  Further investigation in 2016 determined that the source was the city’s surface water, the Huron River, not its well fields that are located on the city’s airport property as anticipated.  While already having granular activated carbon (GAC) in its treatment train, the city began investigating alternative carbon products and operational modifications to repurpose existing filtration infrastructure for PFAS removal.  This presentation will share the results of this investigative work as well as some of the unanticipated outcomes that would be important for utilities taking a similar path.

Speaker Bio:

Brian Steglitz is the Manager of Water Treatment Services for the City of Ann Arbor, where he has been employed for over 20 years and is responsible for the operation of the City’s 50 MGD Water Treatment Plant that serves approximately 125,000 people in the City of Ann Arbor and environs.  Mr. Steglitz also oversees the operation of the city’s two recreational dams and two hydroelectric generating facilities.  Mr. Steglitz is a former Chair and Director of the Michigan Section AWWA and served as Vice President of AWWA in 2015-6, and is currently on the Board of Directors for The Water Research Foundation.  Mr. Steglitz testified at a House of Representatives hearing on PFAS in May 2019, where he advocated for legislation that would provide resources to address these emerging contaminants that are a threat to drinking water supplies across the United States.  Mr. Steglitz has received the Raymond J. Faust Award for outstanding service in the water supply field from the Michigan Section AWWA and is a recipient of the George Warren Fuller Award by AWWA which recognizes distinguished service and outstanding leadership in the water supply field.  Mr. Steglitz has a BA in Economics from Yale University and an MS in Civil/Environmental Engineering from Stanford University.


Part 2: Lead  |  May 20  |  10 - 11:30 AM

Overview: LCR Revisions - Steve Via, AWWA

Speaker Bio:

Steve Via is Director of Federal Relations for the American Water Works Association (AWWA) working in AWWA’s Washington, D.C., office. Mr. Via’s primary responsibilities are two-fold: working with the EPA and other federal agencies on the development of policy and regulations that affect the water sector; and communicating the basis and substance of federal policy and regulations to the water sector.

Denver Water's Lead Reduction Program - Alexis Woodrow, Denver Water


In March 2018, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) designated phosphate-based treatment as Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment (OCCT) for Denver Water’s distribution system under the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Lead and Copper Rule. Following extensive stakeholder engagement and additional study, in September 2019, Denver Water submitted a request to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a variance from the Lead and Copper Rule’s OCCT requirements. Under the variance request, Denver Water proposed implementation of its Lead Reduction Program Plan (LRPP) in lieu of OCCT.

On December 16, 2019, EPA approved Denver Water’s variance request, effective January 1, 2020. The Lead Reduction Program (LRP) includes the development and implementation of pH adjustment from 7.8 to 8.8; a public lead service line (LSL) inventory and associated data tracking system for 64,000 to 84,000 possible, suspected, and known LSL; distribution of over 100,000 filter pitchers and ongoing annual cartridge filter replacements; and annual replacement of 4,500 annual LSLs replacements. As of January 2021, Denver Water has completed the first of its approved three-year demonstration period. This presentation will cover the progress on the Lead Reduction Program inventory, lead service line replacement strategies, and lessons learned along the way.

Speaker Bio:

Alexis Woodrow has been employed at Denver Water since 2007 and has worked in multiple roles at the water utility, including water resource planner, program manager, and process improvement facilitator. Since 2016 she has played an active role in helping Denver Water better provide safe drinking water by addressing sources of lead in tap water and currently serves as Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program Manager. She is a registered Project Management Professional (PMP, 2015) and has over 8 years of project management experience. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Geography from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2003, a Master of Engineering in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from the University of Colorado Denver, and is currently working toward her Master of Public Administration (MPA).

Managing Lead Corrosion Under the Revised Lead and Copper Rule (LCRR) - Phil Brandhuber, PhD


The LCRR is placing greater focus on the management lead (Pb) levels at the tap.  In systems with lead service lines (LSLs) changes to the tap sampling site tiering procedure and the use of the 5th-liter sample are likely to increase Pb 90th percentile (P90) concentration compared to historic values.  These changes, combined with the establishment of the Pb ‘trigger level’ will require many utilities, including small utilities or those without LSLs, to either evaluate or reevaluate corrosion control treatment (CCT).

The objective of this presentation is to:

  • Review the chemistry and physics of Pb corrosion and release

  • Identify factors or actions which increase the risk of corrosion and Pb release

  • Explain how retiring and 5th-liter sampling may increase P(90) levels

  • Describe advantages and disadvantages of approved CCT methods (management of pH/DIC or addition of corrosion inhibitor)

  • Discuss the steps in performing a corrosion control treatment evaluation to select or optimize CCT

The presentation will conclude with a discussion of the possible impacts of CCT on other water quality parameters.

Speaker Bio:

Phil has extensive experience in evaluating the effectiveness of inorganic contaminant treatments, including management of lead, copper, arsenic, chromium manganese, and perchlorate. Phil received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Boulder and has been the principal or co-principal investigator for ten drinking water-related research projects sponsored by the Water Research Foundation (WRF) and other agencies. In addition to advising clients concerning compliance with the revised lead and copper rule (LCRR), Phil is participating in the AWWA effort to develop a training program for completing corrosion control treatment (CCT) evaluations in compliance with the LCRR.  He is also a member of the project advisory committee for WRF project 4910, Evaluating Key Factors that Affect the Accumulation and Release of Lead from Galvanized Pipes.   He is the current chair of the AWWA Inorganic Contaminants committee and Manganese subcommittee.  Phil has 20 years of experience as a consultant, working for McGuire Environmental and HDR Engineering.  He is currently the owner of his own firm, Brandhuber Water Quality & Treatment LLC.


Part 3: Communications  |  May 27  |  10 - 11:30 AM

Overview – Susan Miller

Speaker Bio:

Susan Miller is the Public Affairs Officer for Fairfax Water, Virginia’s largest water utility and one of the 25 largest water utilities in the country.  She has worked for Fairfax Water for twenty years, most of that as a chemist in the water quality laboratory specializing in Inorganic chemistry and metals analysis.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology in 2001 and earned an MBA in 2013.  Susan is a member of the American Water Works Association and serves on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Community Engagement Campaign for drinking water utilities in the DC area.

Part 1: Preparing Your Public Communications for the Revised Lead & Copper Rule - Mike McGill, WaterPIO


Given today's communications landscape, the time has come for every utility to proactively communicate about its Lead & Copper Program. Otherwise, when an exceedance occurs, the utility's entire reputation is at risk. And not for days or weeks, but years. When a utility is notified of an exceedance of the EPA’s Action Level under the Lead and Copper Rule, it is faced with perhaps its most important public communication challenge.

Why? Because the water industry is still feeling the negative impacts of what happened in Flint, Michigan. What happened in Flint was not the typical lead exceedance under the Lead and Copper Rule; it was a violation of the public trust on multiple levels. However, for the average customer, Flint has become shorthand for any water quality situation a utility may face, especially if a lead and/or copper exceedance is involved. Unfortunately, utilities still have not been proactively communicating about their lead and copper efforts, in part because of fear the communications efforts could backfire on them.

WaterPIO is handling lead exceedance public communications for multiple utilities in several states. Their initial EPA Action Level exceedances required public notifications and, in some cases, the immediate institution of corrosion control programs. The public and media communications efforts were focused on the positives surrounding the situations, i.e. the fact the Lead and Copper Rule had worked as designed. We knew comparisons to Flint and other news-making water quality situations would be made so we focused our messaging on the distinctions and made sure, through a series of interviews, that any attempt to tie the incidents together would not be made.

The presentation will discuss the expected changes to the Lead & Copper Rule, especially how they impact public communications. The EPA is likely to finalize all of the following changes this year, which place water utilities at greater risk for reputation-damaging situations: the time to inform the public about a systemwide exceedance will drop from 30 days to just 24 hours; a new trigger level of 10ppb will public information actions before the Action Level of 15ppb; testing of all schools and daycares every five years; and new lead service line inventory and line replacement requirements.

Speaker Bio:

In 2016, Mike McGill founded WaterPIO, a public communications firm dedicated to affordably helping water and wastewater utilities of all sizes improve their customer, media, and crisis communications.

Before starting WaterPIO, Mike directed public information and customer service operations for water and wastewater utilities for a dozen years. 

His positions included: 

  • Chief Spokesperson for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) outside Washington, DC;

  • Director of Customer Relations and Communications for Loudoun Water in Ashburn, Virginia; and

  • Chief Communications Officer for Cape Fear Public Utility Authority in Wilmington, North Carolina.

McGill holds a Dual Degree in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science from Syracuse University.  He began his career as a political and media news producer in CNN’s Washington Bureau, and as the News Planning Editor for the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC.

Before entering the Water World, Mike served General Colin Powell as the Media Director and Spokesperson for his nonprofit organization, America’s Promise.

Part 2: How to Communicate PFAS Discoveries to the Press and the Public - Mike McGill, WaterPIO


The discoveries of PFAS contaminants - man-made "forever" chemicals - constitute one of the two greatest future threats to public confidence in our nation's drinking water. The sheer number of these contaminants and the lack of health and safety data on the vast majority of them - combined with new, disruptive developments that are occurring nearly every week - could lead many of our customers to question whether or not they should turn on their taps.

With states all over the county testing source waters for PFAS, this presentation will show utilities how to become, or stay, the go-to source for information about their drinking water by proactively communicating with the press, the public, and the key stakeholders about the PFAS issue before findings are made public.

WaterPIO has been in the middle of PFAS discoveries for our clients in several states since 2017. Since that time, we have served as an independent source of information, helping multiple utilities, elected officials, activists, reporters, editors, and customers in paid and unpaid capacities. The presentation will briefly walk attendees through the GenX and other PFAS discoveries being made all over the country and focus on the communications process throughout the situations.

We will talk about the decisions made and how they had a direct impact on the level of attention and anger the story received from the press and the public. It will close with the lessons learned, focusing on the strategies that have worked with customers and key stakeholders.

Attendees will walk away with ways to proactively plan for PFAS discoveries that are almost certain to come for utilities using river source waters. They will also understand how news of a discovery is handled by the press and how they can prevent being caught off-guard when the media comes calling.

Speaker Bio:

See above :)



Online Only
Geneva Hudgins