Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography & ODU Resilience Collaborative

Fall 2019 Seminar Series


Charles Humphrey
East Carolina University

Monday, September 23, 2019
3:30 PM
Conference Center, Innovation Research Building II
4211 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA 23508


Onsite wastewater systems (OWS), sometimes called septic systems, are a commonly used method of wastewater treatment in coastal areas. Most OWS rely on soil-based processes for pollutant removal including nitrogen transformations, phosphorus absorption, and filtration of fecal bacteria. Soil type, vadose zone thickness, and setback distances from OWS to surface waters are factors that influence pollutant treatment efficiency by OWS. The thickness of the vadose zone and setback distances decrease (and treatment decreases) when groundwater and surface water elevations increase in response to tides, wind and rainstorms. Sea level rise and more frequent intense storm events may create even more challenging circumstances for management of wastewater in coastal environments. This presentation will include an overview of recent coastal wastewater management research and provide an opportunity for discussion about challenges we face moving forward.


Dr. Humphrey earned a B.S. in Ecosystems Assessment and a M.S. in Soil Science from North Carolina State University (NCSU) and a Ph.D. in Coastal Resources Management from East Carolina University (ECU). He worked for three years as an Environmental Health Specialist in NC and seven years as an Area Environmental Agent with the NCSU Cooperative Extension. He has been at ECU for 10 years, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Water and Wastewater Management. His research interests include onsite wastewater systems, pollutant transport through soils and groundwater, and land use influences on water quality.

Reception before seminar at 3:00 PM

Old Dominion University Homepage CCPO
Innovation Research Park Building I
4111 Monarch Way, 3rd Floor
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Norfolk, VA 23508
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