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U.S. EPA Webinar – DNA-Based Water Quality Monitoring Methods to Support Aquatic and Human Health

DNA-Based Water Quality Monitoring Methods to Support Aquatic and Human Health

April 24, 2024 from 2 to 3:15 p.m. ET

A certificate of attendance will be offered for this webinar

1. Becoming Uncultured: Daily Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Using qPCR and Public Notification at Chicago Beaches

This presentation focuses on a two-year pilot program of rapid molecular testing of beach water samples that resulted in Chicago becoming the first large U.S. city to issue same-day water-quality warnings for all its public recreational beaches. They have successfully done so every year since 2017. The Chicago Park District and University of Illinois-Chicago School of Public Health partnership illustrates that true daily beach monitoring using same-day water quality results is an achievable goal.

About the speaker:

Abhilasha Shrestha, PhD, University of Illinois Chicago

Abhilasha is a Research Assistant Professor within the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Department at the University of Illinois-Chicago School of Public Health (Chicago, IL). Dr. Shrestha conducts research primarily focused on water quality and its implications for public health. Her research interests include investigating various indicator targets and genes to rapidly assess infectious agents in water. Her projects have included overseeing the management and operation of Chicago’s Lake Michigan beach monitoring project, conducted in collaboration with the Chicago Park District; identifying and mitigating different bacterial sources of pollution at public Lake Michigan beaches in Chicago, utilizing microbial source tracking; and spearheading a wastewater surveillance project for SARS-CoV-2 in Kisumu, Kenya, from 2022 to 2023. She is engaged in ongoing global health water research projects in Kenya and Nepal, contributing significantly to the understanding and management of waterborne health risks on an international scale.

2. Standard Control Material for Quantitative Real-Time PCR Recreational Water Quality Monitoring

This presentation describes a collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop Standard Reference Material® 2917 (SRM 2917), SRM 2917 “fit for purpose” performance assessment, and implications for qPCR recreational water monitoring implementation.

About the speaker:

Orin Shanks, PhD, EPA Office of Research and Development

Orin is a senior scientist with the EPA’s Center for Environmental Measurement and Modeling. His current research activities focus on the development and implementation of quantitative nucleic acid-based fecal pollution diagnostic tools, advances in molecular method data analyses and visualization, as well as the persistence of genetic material in environmental scenarios.  In addition to research activities, he also provides technical assistance to EPA program offices and regions, states, tribes, and other local groups with an interest in clean and safe waters.

Appreciate this webinar series?

You may also be interested in some of EPA’s other research webinars. Save the date for the next webinar in our Small Drinking Water Systems Research webinar series, “PFAS Treatment” on April 30 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. ET.


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