Who we are

This project is a collaboration between the Sewanee Utility District and faculty and students at Sewanee: The University of the South and the University of Georgia.

The University of the South

 Photo: Darren Fraser.

Dr. Deborah McGrath, Professor of Biology and ecosystem ecologist with expertise in biogeochemistry, directs the project. She has conducted research on water quality and the presence of emerging contaminants in wastewater effluent. She and her students examine both terrestrial and wetland processes at the Sewanee Utility District.

Dr. Scott Torreano, Professor of Forestry in Earth and Environmental Systems, assisted in site design and construction oversight and is involved in project monitoring and evaluation.

Dr. Emily White is an environmental chemist with expertise in aquatic biogeochemistry and water quality analysis. Her research interests include the occurrence and fate of emerging contaminants in wastewater treatment lagoons, water sustainability, and real-time environmental and climate monitoring.

Many Sewanee students have contributed to this project, including those in McGrath's Human Health and the Environment and in Torreano's Water Resources Policy and Law classes. The following students and alumnae have contributed as part of senior capstone projects, independent research, and post baccalaureate fellowships:

Capstone projects:

Megan Hopson (C’17, Environment and Sustainability), Emmie Oliver (C’16, Environment and Sustainability), Nate Greene, John Bell, and Jared Zissu (C’16, Natural Resources and the Environment), Hali Steinmann (C’15 Ecology and Biodiversity) and Chris Yeatman (C15 Natural Resources and the Environment)

Research Students:

Megan Hopson (C’17, Environment and Sustainability major), Anna Williams (C’19, Chemistry major), Tia Strickland (C’16, Chemistry major), Lauren Petrosh (C’16, Chemistry major), Lauren Newman (C’18, Environment and Sustainability major), Hannah-Marie Garcia (C’19, Summer Research Bridge participant), Hali Steinman (C’15, Environmental Studies: Ecology and Biodiversity major), Chris Yeatman (C’15, Environmental Studies: Natural Resources and the Environment major), Dannielle Hendon (C’17, Chemistry major/3-2 Engineering), Veronica Gordillo-Herrejon (C’17, Chemistry major), Leslie Leiva (C’17, Chemistry major), Alyssa Holley (C’18, Chemistry major - Summer Research Bridge participant), Abby Bray (C’16, Biochemistry major).

The following students helped to analyze wastewater samples in Chemistry 211: Chemical Methods of Environmental Analysis: Matson Conrad, Oksana Creech, Caroline Holmes, Eli Lavender, Daniel Myers, Kelley Myers, Paul Naumann, Emily Newton, Param Singh, and Tia Strickland (Spring 2015), and Palmer Coleman, Ava Conner, Dannielle Hendon, Sydney Jackson, Liz Lucas, Evergiste Ngabo, Sara Parks, Lauren Petrosh, Rachel Rodgers, April Shi, and Asmita Shrestha (Spring 2014).

The University of Georgia

  Photo: Philipp Nussbaum.

Dr. Ron Carroll is Emeritus Professor at the Odum School of Ecology.  He is assisting with project monitoring and evaluation.

Dr. Laurie Fowler, a Sewanee graduate and environmental lawyer, is on the faculty at the Odum School of Ecology and the School of Law where she directs the Environmental Practicum. She is assisting with the public outreach campaign.

Dr. Bill Tolner of the UGA College of Engineering supervised the engineering students who developed the initial project design as part of the Environmental Practicum.

Law students and graduate students in Ecology, Engineering, and the College of Environment and Design developed the concept and initial design of the constructed wetland project. These students are: Brian Barth, James Bevington, Lisa Biddle, Heather Blaikie, Anna Gore, Riaz Khan, Jennifer Kobylus, Chris Oliver, Ashley Rich-Robertson, and Tum Suppakittpaisarn (Spring 2012), and Brian Crawford, Lauren Heidingsfelder, Ross Pringle, Greg Skupien, and Sam Woolford (Spring 2013).

Philipp Nussbaum, a graduate student in the Odum School’s Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development master’s program, is developing and implementing the public outreach campaign.

The Sewanee Utility District

  Photo: Darren Fraser.

Ben Beavers is the General Manager of the Sewanee Utility District. He holds a BS degree in Plant and Soil Science and has been involved in the development of the project since its inception. 

Tony Green is the Sewanee Utility District's Wastewater Treatment Supervisor.