Natural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Communities Served by Decentralized Wastewater Systems

Natural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Communities Served by Decentralized Wastewater Systems

Date / Time: June 19, 2019 11:00 am

Natural disasters are on the rise. With at least one in five homes and many businesses in the U.S. dependent on septic systems and other decentralized wastewater systems, what are the implications regarding their vulnerabilities, and how do affected communities respond?

This webinar will cover new resources developed by the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), promoting key messages to populations dependent on decentralized systems across the U.S. The webinar will also feature two case studies of large-scale natural disasters and their impacts on populations dependent on these decentralized systems: Puerto Rico’s ongoing recovery efforts after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and coastal Connecticut’s redevelopment after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The case studies will explore lessons learned from officials in these communities.

The intended audience for this webinar includes local, state and federal government officials such as health officials and emergency response coordinators, as well as affected populations more generally.

For additional information on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership and past recorded webinars, please visit


David Richards, MDB, Inc.

Don Waye, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Wastewater Management


Ayana Jones, MPH, Project Coordinator at the National Environmental Health Association, works across a broad spectrum of program areas at NEHA, including decentralized wastewater. Ayana previously worked as an environmental health fellow at the American Public Health Association and as a county sanitarian in Ohio.

Sonia Marino, MPH, is Director of the Westbrook, Connecticut, Health Department and a registered sanitarian. She has spent the past eight years working for local municipalities along the CT shoreline, which are largely dependent on onsite wastewater systems. Sonia has been actively pursuing the goals of the town’s Water Pollution Control Commission/Associations.

Joel Blanco-González, Sustainability Advisor for Puerto Rico, works on the Puerto Rico Recovery Plan for EPA and FEMA following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. He has previously served as an environmental engineer and tribal affairs expert for EPA Region 3, a strategic integration analyst for EPA Region 2, and in international affairs for EPA Region 4.

Paul Fericelli, Water Advisor with EPA Caribbean Environmental Protection Division in San Juan, Puerto Rico, coordinates efforts with FEMA, other federal agencies, Puerto Rico and stakeholders to expedite the recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Paul provides planning, technical, managerial and compliance support to water systems and infrastructure projects.



EPA Decentralized Wastewater Program

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