Dr. Megan Plumlee Named to New NWRI Advisory Group

Megan Plumlee, Ph.D., P.E., Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) research director, was recently named to the Bioanalytical Implementation Advisory Group (BIAG) organized by the National Water Research Institute (NWRI), which held its first meeting at the District in January 2019.

At the meeting, she provided a presentation titled “Need for Standardized Protocol for Bioanalytical Monitoring of California Potable Reuse Facilities for ER-α and AhR Assays.”

Dr. Plumlee is one of six on the BIAG committee, which was formed in response to the recently amended Recycled Water Policy (RWP) from the State Water Resources Control Board. The RWP now includes bioanalytical (bioassay) monitoring requirements for potable reuse projects like the Groundwater Replenishment System.

Bioassays are intended to measure specific bioactivity endpoints and thus respond to certain classes of chemical compounds to assess the presence of unknown chemicals.

The RWP includes both bioassay monitoring and traditional targeted chemical analytical monitoring requirements. Given the relative general lack of bioanalytical monitoring experience in the mainstream water/water quality sector, current methods lack standardization and aren’t widely available.

Over the next year, the NWRI BIAG seeks to develop laboratory Standard Operating Procedures for the two specific bioassays (estrogen receptor alpha, ER-a and arylhydrocarbon receptor, AhR) required in the amended state RWP.