The California Water Institute at Fresno State is bringing together water safety experts and professionals from throughout the state to discuss a research study released in June reporting that overpumping groundwater can release harmful arsenic into the drinking water supply.

The Arsenic Symposium will take place from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Satellite Student Union at Fresno State. The timing of the symposium is significant, coming a day after the fourth annual Imagine a Day Without Water, a nationwide day of education and advocacy about the value of water.

This free event is open to community members, higher education professionals involved in water sustainability, owners and operators of public water systems and Fresno State students, staff and faculty.

“Groundwater contamination remains a water-quality challenge in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Thomas C. Esqueda, associate vice president in Water and Sustainability at Fresno State. “At Fresno State, we are pleased to host this important symposium regarding arsenic in local public and private drinking water systems. This event is a prime example of the types of water-related programs that Fresno State will present to promote dialogue, collaboration and cooperation on critically important water issues.”

Esqueda, the former director of public utilities for the City of Fresno, was appointed in March to serve in his newly-formed position at Fresno State. He will help in the University’s quest to further establish itself as a national leader in applied water research.

The California Water Institute at Fresno State was created in 2000 to provide education, research and analysis of policy issues involving water resources including water quality issues and integrated regional water management planning.

Dr. Scott Fendorf of Stanford will present the conclusions he and other researchers came to in the study regarding overpumping dangers. Groundwater consultant Chris Johnson, a Fresno State alumnus, will present his findings about arsenic in groundwater in Hanford from the early 1990s.

Dr. Beth Weinman, an associate professor in Fresno State’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, will also present at the symposium. Other guests will include experts in groundwater modelling, groundwater quality monitoring and drinking water regulators from the U.S. Geological Survey and State Water Resources Control Board.

The symposium will provide an in-depth look at the sources and causes of arsenic in the San Joaquin Valley groundwater.

In addition to presentations from leading industry representatives, the symposium will also feature breakout sessions in which attendees will brainstorm and look into next steps for addressing arsenic in the groundwater.

“We encourage folks to attend this important water event, and to join with Fresno State faculty, staff and students to identify and implement cost-effective and timely solutions to the state’s most pressing water resource management challenges,” Esqueda said.

Partnering with industry and government agencies, Fresno State faculty, students and staff study water quality, conservation, delivery systems, supply development, recycling and drought-tolerant crops. The campus houses the Center for Irrigation Technology, the International Center for Water Technology and the Water and Energy Technology (WET) Center. The University also is a partner in Blue Tech Valley — an ambitious initiative to create a Silicon Valley-like hub of water research and development.

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