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Doctoral Candidate Ed Hagarty Defends Research Proposal

On January 26, 2007, doctoral student Edward P. Hagarty successfully defended his doctoral dissertation research proposal on the development of a risk evaluation model for water and wastewater facilities. Ed’s research project is tentatively entitled “Long Term Sustainability of Our National Parks: Establishing a Predictive Risk Modeling System for the Management of Water and Wastewater Facilities.”

In his research, Ed is developing a public health prioritization model for small water and wastewater treatment facilities that has the potential to be beneficial to many developing nations, smaller economies, national parks, refuges and other areas with numerous small, dissimilar and low budget water and wastewater facilities. Ed intends to use the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, and data from the National Park Service as a “test bed” to investigate the utility of his model. In doing so, he plans it incorporate the model into the asset management system on the NPS in a way that will identify factors that influence potential health risks to the employees and visitors of the national parks.

Within the model, a numeric ranking for each risk factor will be established such that a summary of the rankings for each risk factor for a specific water or wastewater facility will result in an overall score. Weighting factors will be established in a risk-based decision-aiding system to establish the relative importance of each risk element. The system will provide a priority ranking indicating which facilities have the highest potential public health risk. This priority ranking would be used to focus resources such as audits or budget requests. The system would allow the NPS to make the best use of their available funds to recommend improvements to facilities and efficiently manage the health risks.

Serving on Ed's proposal examining committee were Professor E. Lile Murphree, Professor Jonathan P. Deason and Assistant Professor Julie Ryan.

Ed, who currently is a Senior Program Manager for the URS Corporation, has more than 25 years of experience with water and wastewater management, hazardous waste management, environmental engineering, management activities in environmental programs at the state level, and teaching at the college level.

Jonathan P. Deason, Ph.D., Lead Professor

The George Washington University
Engineering Management & Systems Engineering Department (EMSE)
Environmental & Energy Management Program (E&EM)
Spring 2007 (Volume 8, Number 1)