Albee to Lecture on Gap Analysis at Virginia Tech

Steve Albee, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's project director for Gap Analysis, will visit the Virginia Tech campus Feb. 27 to lecture on water infrastructure and water protection issues. His speech will be followed by a screening of the PBS documentary, "Liquid Assets," according to a Feb. 19 press release from the university.

The event is part of the Guest Lecture series sponsored by the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech's Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science Center of Excellence in Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management. It will start at 3:30 p.m. in 3100 Torgersen Hall. The event is free to the public.

Spearheading the event is Sunil Sinha, an associate professor with the Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and co-director of the Center of Excellence in Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management. Other faculty members within the College of Engineering will speak, including Roop Mahajan, the James S. Tucker Professor of Engineering and director of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science.

Albee will focus his lecture on the gap between available funds and needs for water infrastructure maintenance and replacement across the nation, part of the EPA's National Strategy for Sustainable Water program.

He also will discuss how EPA is working with local municipalities to better manage water and wastewater utilities, formulate rates that reflect the full cost pricing of services, use water efficiently, and protect watersheds. Climate change, including its impact on human health and natural systems, will be discussed as well.

"Liquid Assets: The Story of Our Water Infrastructure," which has aired on PBS affiliates across the country, will screen after the lecture. Sinha helped spearhead the documentary while on faculty at the Pennsylvania State University and continued to work on the project after he was hired by Virginia Tech. The film is a startling look at water service lines that Americans use every day, but rarely consider.\

Sunil also is spearheading a related March 10-11 seminar "Advancing Asset Management in Your Utility: A 'Hands-on' Workshop." The two-day event is open to water utility managers and will provide attendees with hands-on experience in managing their water and sewer facilities for long-term sustainability, said Sinha.

Albee has 30 years experience with EPA. He is the principal author of the "The Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis," a 2002 assessment of America's water and wastewater infrastructure. He has held the following titles at the EPA: director of the Planning and Analysis Division, acting director of the Municipal Construction Division, chief of the Municipal Assistance Branch, and expert adviser to the Border Environment Cooperation Commission and the North American Development Bank, among others.

Sinha is the winner of the National Science Foundation Career Award titled "Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management System" for 2006- 11, the National Science Foundation International Research and Education in Engineering Award for 2007 and was named the Schreyer Institute InSPIRE Academy Fellow by Penn State in 2006. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society for Engineering Education, North American Society for Trenchless Technology, and American Society for Testing and Materials. He also holds adjunct professorship positions at the University of Waterloo, Canada, where he received his doctorate in civil and environmental engineering, and at Penn State.

Part of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management will focus its research on a multiple number of areas such as water chemistry, sensor technology, nanotechnology, information technology, material science, construction technology, green engineering, sustainable and innovative technologies, renewal engineering, and infrastructure asset management.