The Tiger Team Approach: Addressing High Priority Bacteria Sources through Collaboration and Communication

Date / Time:
Wednesday, Sep 27 11:35am to 12:05pm
Convention Center 202
Track / Session:
Municipal Programs Track / Beyond Outreach

Since 2001, the City of San Diego (City) has proactively addressed elevated bacteria levels in order to protect REC-1 use in their watersheds. In San Diego as well as across California, the culture and economy are reliant on clean beaches and waterways, however the highly urbanized environment makes the management of bacterial water quality especially challenging. To better address these complex sources, the City developed a Tiger Team to enhance both source identification and source abatement efforts in their watersheds.

The City values both new and traditional tools and strategies to track and identify bacteria sources. This presentation will briefly educate the audience on bacteria sources and their related risks. In urban environments especially, where multiple sources of both human and non-human contamination comingle, it is important to understand the risks associated with different sources to prioritize source tracking and abatement for the greatest benefit to human health.

Current City studies will be used to highlight the Tiger Team approach for source tracking. The Tiger Team combines 1) intra- and inter-departmental collaboration 2) a revised investigation process and 3) use of new markers and methods for source tracking. Tiger Team members are from multiple departments and divisions within the City of San Diego, including Storm Water Enforcement, Public Utilities, and Operations & Maintenance. The City has used the Tiger Team to clarify procedures and streamline the process of implementing corrective actions for bacteria sources found in both residential and commercial areas.

The presenters will engage the audience by sharing personal anecdotes and asking the audience questions related to bacteria monitoring, source tracking, and source abatement such as:
• How many suspect human sources are causing or contributing to bacteria in their watersheds?
• What tools are currently being used for source tracking?
• How many have been successful in finding and eliminating human sources in their watersheds?
Lessons learned from urban source investigation and abatement efforts performed to date will also be shared. In the spirit of CASQA's theme “Building Bridges with Water”, this presentation will highlight how the City is improving protection of the valuable recreational uses of their watershed through use of their inter-department Tiger Team. The presenters will detail the key building blocks of successful source investigations including 1) how to build and unify a team from multiple internal departments; 2) the new standard operating protocol; and 3) the key tools of source investigation.

Primary Speaker:
Darcy Ebentier, Amec Foster Wheeler
Supporting Speaker 1:
Vicki Kalkirtz, City of San Diego
Primary Speaker Biography: 

Darcy Ebentier is a Senior Scientist in Amec Foster Wheeler's San Diego office. She has been working in microbiological water quality for a decade, and specializes in application of the latest technologies including microbial source tracking. When she isn't down a manhole or reviewing the latest laboratory data, she can be found in her garden or enjoying her favorite San Diego beaches.

Supporting Speakers Biographies: 

Vicki Kalkirtz is a Senior Planner in the City of San Diego’s Transportation & Storm Water Department, Policy & Enforcement section.  She has been working on storm water policy issues for 7 years, five with the City. Vicki holds a Bachelor of Science in Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Minnesota, a Master of Urban Planning in Land Use and Environmental Planning and a Master of Science in Natural Resources with a focus on Environmental Justice from the University of Michigan.