January 5, 2018

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Brandon Steets to Present in California Water Quality Monitoring Collaboration Network Webinar Series

Brandon Steets (California) will present in a webinar sponsored by the California Water Quality Monitoring Collaboration Network (CWQMCN) in a series entitled "Water Quality Improvement Projects and BMPs to Achieve a Swimmable California" from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (PST) on January 24, 2018.

This presentation will highlight approaches currently using to track human waste sources, citing recent Geosyntec project examples from the Charles River and Boston Harbor, nitrate in the Ventura River in California, and bacteria and pathogens at beaches in Santa Barbara, California. The study examples and guidance presented will provide important information for municipal stormwater agencies and other permitted dischargers that may need to identify sources of bacteria and nutrients to impaired waters. The presentation will also highlight best management practices (BMPs) selection and effectiveness for bacteria, with discussion of both structural and non-structural options, although an emphasis will be placed on prioritizing the control of human waste sources.

The goal of this webinar series is to focus on elements that support California's water monitoring and management programs that provide for a swimmable California. "Safe to Swim" water quality programs are an important part of ensuring public health while people recreate at California's many beaches and swimming holes, or using these same waters for cultural or subsistence uses. As California's population continues to grow, more people are recreating in surface waters, especially freshwater. Water quality monitoring and management continue to be challenging for many agencies and the webinar series should be of assistance to many groups as they face these challenges. Organizers of this webinar series encourage participants to engage with the California Water Quality Monitoring Council's California Safe-to-Swim Workgroups. Through networking, sharing and building capacity we can work together supporting a swimmable California.

Brandon Steets is a Senior Principal Water Resources Engineer based in California with more than 16 years of experience focused on helping clients develop cost-effective solutions to their complex regulatory compliance issues related to state and federal water quality requirements for surface water. He specializes in NPDES and TMDL regulations, pollutant source investigation and special study design, monitoring, modelling, and Green Infrastructure planning and design.

The California Water Quality Monitoring Council is partnering with the Water Boards' Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program, Non-Point Source Program, and U.S. EPA to launch a monthly webinar to support monitoring community activities.

The Water Quality Monitoring Collaboration Network (WQMCN) is a voluntary monthly webinar that allows members of the monitoring community to network and exchange information and ideas on topic of interest. The webinar format, content, and topics of interest will vary in response to input from participants. Sessions are planned to share technical and support tools for monitoring, assessment and reporting; to encourage discussion on common concerns like information management and program development; and to provide a forum for networking and collaboration.

It is envisioned that the WQMCN will help support a state framework to coordinate consistent and scientifically defensible methods and strategies for improving water quality monitoring, assessment, and reporting.


Surface waters in urban areas are frequently contaminated with elevated concentrations of fecal indicator bacteria, signaling a potential health risk, and nutrients, leading to algal growth and depleted oxygen levels that result in risk to aquatic habitat. Bacteria and nutrients are the most common pollutants on many 303(d) lists of impaired waterbodies, and many TMDLs have been established to control the contribution of bacteria and nutrients. However, surface water concentrations may be elevated due to a variety of sources, and effective control planning begins with source identification. Bacteria may come from human sources (e.g., leaking sanitary sewers, improperly functioning septic systems, open defecation), domestic animals (dogs, cattle, horses), wild animals, and non-fecal sources. Traditional MS4 illicit discharge detection and elimination (IDDE) programs are intended to address illicit discharges but are typically limited to outfall screening or sampling using traditional sewage indicators, which are unreliable (i.e., prone to false positive and false negative results) and can lead to inconclusive results. In contrast, state of the science forensic tools such as DNA-based markers are able to accurately detect human waste and are thus redefining how infrastructure investigations should be performed. These advanced analytes may come at a higher per sample cost compared to traditional analytes but result in long term cost savings by conclusively achieving source identification and abatement outcomes.

More Information

Read more about CWQMCN at: http://www.mywaterquality.ca.gov/monitoring_council/collaboration_network/index.html.
Learn more at: http://www.mywaterquality.ca.gov/monitoring_council/collaboration_network/docs/2018/cwqmcn-012418.pdf.
For consultation regarding water quality improvement projects, contact Brandon Steets at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Learn more about Brandon at: https://www.geosyntec.com/people/brandon-steets