Dr. Madeline Gotkowitz, a hydrogeologist with UW-Extension’s Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey (WGNHS), has been named the first place recipient of the 2017 PhD Dissertation Award in Natural Science and Engineering by the Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR).
The award will be presented at the UCOWR Awards Banquet at the 2017 UWOWR/NIWR Conference in June at Colorado State University.
Dr. Gotkowitz’s dissertation topic was Evaluating Remedies for Pathogen Contamination of Urban Groundwater, a study that addressed groundwater contamination from aging sewer systems. This research evaluated how well federal and state drinking water regulations protect human health from fecally-contaminated groundwater in the United States. A second goal of the research was to better understand how infectious viral pathogens from leaky sanitary sewers move through groundwater.
Gotkowitz found that rainstorms affect subsurface transport of viral pathogens to the water table. In addition, modeling results suggested that pumping from deeply-cased wells causes downward flow that result in short travel times, on the order of tens of days, across a regional, confining layer.