Drinking Water and Infrastructure

ERG works to protect the quality of and equitable access to our nation’s drinking water—from source to tap.

Our scientists, engineers, and policy analysts evaluate regulated and unregulated contaminants, screen and prioritize complex factors affecting drinking water quality, and develop integrated solutions for source water protection. They also apply their expertise to protect groundwater resources from underground injection practices. ERG technical specialists, including certified operators, inspect and survey water systems, sample drinking water, and provide technical assistance to local communities, including small and underserved communities. In parallel, our engineers and policy analysts assess infrastructure needs and support federal loan and grant programs to facilitate local access to affordable funding and financing.

Our cutting-edge research supports development of frameworks and tools to assess drinking water system and supply vulnerability and resilience. In addition, ERG develops and supports product specifications and certification programs for water-efficient products and practices and builds and maintains safe drinking water data management and reporting systems. As nationally recognized experts, ERG drinking water specialists have served in leadership positions on federal and state workshops and conferences, and in national and international organizations.

Regulatory Development and Implementation
  • Emerging contaminants
  • Risk assessment
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Strategic outreach, training, and risk communication 
Infrastructure Support
  • Alternatives analysis
  • Asset management
  • Engineering cost estimation
  • Funding and finance
  • Project engineering and environmental reviews
  • Technical assistance
  • Construction oversight and project inspection
  • Federal cross-cutter compliance
Utility Management and Operations
  • Infrastructure needs assessments
  • Technical, managerial, and financial capacity building
  • Equity and affordability
  • SOP and sampling plan development 
Source Water Protection
  • Watershed planning and management
  • Training and outreach
  • Program evaluation  
Compliance and Enforcement
  • Sampling and analysis
  • Sanitary surveys
  • Utility inspections
Sustainability and Resilience
  • Water conservation and efficiency
  • Water reuse/enhanced aquifer recharge
  • Reservoir management support
  • Climate impacts on water supply and sources
  • Cross-sector collaboration
  • Life cycle assessment 
  • Vulnerability assessments
  • Drinking water quality (including PFAS)
  • Groundwater   
Data Management and Information Tools
  • Use and modernization of SDWIS systems
  • Analytical web and geospatial services
  • Electronic reporting for drinking water laboratories
  • Surveys  

Service Area Leads

Photo of Sam Arden

Solving today’s complex environmental challenges is a daunting task. It requires the delicate balancing of many competing factors, from cost and convenience to public health protection and resource allocation. At ERG, I am fortunate to be able to work on projects that get to the core of this balance, surrounded by clients and colleagues who are equally passionate about finding mindful, objective solutions for our complex world.

Sam Arden

Julie Blue Bio

I feel fortunate to work with so many dedicated researchers at EPA and other agencies on remediating contaminated water sources, adapting to climate change, and providing decision-support in related areas. While my particular expertise is groundwater, I’ve had the opportunity to lead projects in urban planning, coral reefs, climate change resilience, emergency response, stormwater, modeling, and more. Multi-disciplinary approaches are helpful for tackling all these issues, and I’m always learning.

Julie Blue

Sarah Cashman

Increasingly, organizations are applying life cycle assessment to learn how they can most effectively reduce the environmental footprint of their products and processes. I take great pride in contributing to techniques and open-source databases that help move the science of LCA forward and facilitate access to more robust, current, and regionalized public life cycle inventory data.

Sarah Cashman

Photo of Janet Cherry

I believe that everyone is entitled to safe, reliable, and affordable drinking water.

Janet Cherry

Carolyn Gillette

I have dedicated my career to helping clients develop practical, incremental solutions to environmental challenges that can sometimes feel overwhelming. It is a privilege to work with colleagues and clients who are devoted to building a better world, on the foundations of science, information, and communication.

Carolyn Gillette

Photo of Linda Hills

As an environmental engineer living in Montana, I’m keenly aware of the value of preserving our nation’s natural resources and of my own part in helping to prevent the degradation of these irreplaceable assets. I work to ensure that wastewater is managed properly and that the water we drink is clean now and into the future.

Linda Hills

Photo of Mike McFadden

Through my experience operating water systems, I have come to appreciate how dedicated utility staff are to ensuring that communities have safe drinking water. Whether I’m providing technical assistance or conducting a compliance inspection that may call out an issue, I have great respect for all who strive to protect human health under whatever site-specific challenges they may be working with.

Mike McFadden

Danny O’Connell

The operation and maintenance of water and wastewater utilities requires a clear understanding of the diverse variables unique to each facility. I enjoy interfacing with utilities operations and management teams to evaluate these variables and help create conditions or approaches that enable water treatment and management systems to perform at their highest efficiencies.

Danny O’Connell

Photo of Mary Ellen Tucillo

Staring out of an airplane window not long after my first geology course, I was amazed at how the landscape features jumped out at me. I saw clearly how river flow, sediment, and time had interacted. That wonder is still with me as I apply what I know about geology and geochemistry to protect our nation’s groundwater, drinking water, and infrastructure. My work is diverse, and I like it that way because it allows me to bring a deep understanding of the earth and environmental sciences to a wide array of subsurface and surface environmental problems.

Mary Ellen Tuccillo