Recorded CASA-CWEA Webinar: Wastewater and Coronavirus Update #2

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CASA and CWEA once again brought together leading national and California experts on the coronavirus for a free webinar. Learn the latest scientific information from this webinar recording.

The webinar provided an update on the following topics:

  • Reopening guidance and essential workers
  • Testing wastewater for community surveillance
  • Wastewater worker exposure and safety study
  • Wastewater disinfection
  • WEF’s bio-aerosols study
  • Biosolids recommendations
  • Lessons learned from EBMUD’s operations
  • Partnering with researchers and universities
  • Transition plan for reopening
  • Fiscal impacts in the Bay Area
  • Topics and agenda are subject to revision

The scientific community has found no evidence of viable COVID-19 virus in wastewater systems. While there is still a lot we don’t know, it appears that contracting COVID-19 through exposure to wastewater is unlikely.

  • Welcome message: Wendy Wert, CWEA Incoming-President, LACSD
  • Moderator: Greg Kester, CASA
  • Dr Amy Kirby, CDC
  • Dr Rasha Maal-Bared, EPCOR, WEF Disinfection and Public Health Committee
  • Dr. Charles Gerba, University of Arizona
  • Eileen White, EBMUD

About the Webinar

The experts want to help you understand the virus so we can protect both wastewater workers and public health.

This webcast is organized by CWEA’s Education Team in partnership with the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF).

This is a free webinar furthering CWEA and CASA’s missions to support California’s wastewater community.


  • Wendy Wert is the Incoming-President of CWEA and a Civil Engineer in the Facilities Planning Division, Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County.
  • Greg Kester is the Director of Renewable Resource Programs for CASA and their coordinator for information about the coronavirus in wastewater. Greg is a civil and environmental engineer and CASA’s subject matter expert on matters pertaining to renewable resources. He manages emerging issues at the local, state and federal level and within the private sector on all biosolids, renewable energy, recycled water, climate change mitigation and related issues.
  • Dr. Rasha Maal-Bared, senior microbiologist at EPCOR Water Services Inc., runs both the drinking water and wastewater microbiology laboratories and conducts research related to optimization of water monitoring, treatment and distribution. She is an environmental microbiologist whose work focuses on protecting public health by understanding waterborne pathogen ecology, survival and transmission in both natural and engineered environments. She currently serves as She is a currently a Registered Microbiologist with the Canadian College of Microbiologists, a Professional Biologist with the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists, and Chair of WEF’s Waterborne Infectious Disease Outbreak Control Subcommittee (WIDOC).
  • Dr. Amy Kirby is an Environmental Microbiologist in the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture (BSA, major: Microbiology) from the University of Georgia, a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Buffalo, and a Master’s of Public Health in Epidemiology from Emory University. At CDC, Dr. Kirby studies antibiotic resistant (AR) bacteria in natural and man-made water systems. She uses a combination of traditional culture-based methods and advanced molecular methods to assess the prevalence and dynamics of AR bacteria and AR genes in drinking water, wastewater, and recreational water, such as oceans, lakes, and pools. She is currently deployed to the COVID-19 response as part of the Community Mitigation Task Force, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Team.
  • Dr. Charles P. Gerba is a professor of epidemiology and bio-statistics in the Dept of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona. He has authored over 500 journal articles, books and has been featured on numerous television programs and magazines. Dr. Gerba has an international reputation for his methodologies for pathogen detection in water and food, pathogen occurrence in households, and risk assessment.
  • Eileen M. White is a Civil Engineer and currently the Director of Wastewater for the East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland, which supplies water to approximately 1.4 million people and wastewater services to about 670,000 people. Eileen has more than 20 years of engineering experience in the wastewater, water, and power industries. As the Director of Wastewater, she is responsible for leading the Wastewater Department which includes planning, organizing, and leading the engineering, operations, and maintenance of the wastewater system to ensure efficient operations that meet all regulations.