UNC Water Microbiology Conference 2017: May 15-17

International Symposium on Health-Related Water Microbiology: May 15-19

The 19th International Symposium on Health-Related Water Microbiology was organized by the International Water Association (IWA) Specialist Group on Health-Related Water Microbiology (HRWM). In 2017, the Symposium ran concurrently with the UNC Water Microbiology Conference to create a forum for researchers and practitioners focused on microbiology and public health to come together around the intersection of the two. The Conferences were held in Chapel Hill.

The Conferences blended interactive workshops with scientific symposia and poster socials, offering participants a variety of opportunities to exchange ideas, debate challenging topics and explore potential collaborations. The focus was on water microbiology from watershed to human exposure including current concerns in recreational waters, shellfish harvesting waters, emerging technologies and quantitative tools.

IWA members were able to participate in all Water Microbiology Conference sessions as well a dedicated track each day for members of the IWA Specialist Group on Health-Related Water Microbiology.

Conference Program (PDF) Abstract Book (PDF) Attendee List (PDF)

Conference Organizing Committees

Local Committee – UNC

Mark Sobsey
Rachel Noble
Jill Stewart
Jamie Bartram
Denene Blackwood
Heather Pace

HRWM Committee

Gary Toranzos- Chair
Rosina Girones- Secretary
Hiroyuki Katayama- Vice-Chair
Marion Savill- Past-Chair

Conference Themes

Sources & Reservoirs

  • One Health, including human and animal wastes
  • Effluents, discharges, biosolids, biofilms and stormwaters
  • Drinking, reclaimed, recreational and irrigation waters
  • Rural water supply and sanitation
  • Disasters and extreme events


  • Survival, persistence, transport, fate and occurrence
  • Hazards (including antimicrobial resistance, water based and zoonotic organisms)
  • Shellfish, produce, irrigation, water reuse
  • Health risks, epidemiology and one health issues
  • Emerging pathogens and exposures



  • Rapid molecular and enzymatic methods
  • Alternative indicators including coliphages and bacterial spores
  • Metagenome, resistome and community analysis
  • Method comparison, validation and performance
  • Microbial source tracking
  • Modeling and prediction


Management & Treatment

  • Water and wastewater treatment and disinfection technologies including onsite wastewater systems
  • Criteria, standards, surveillance and monitoring
  • Stormwater including BMPs
  • QMRA, decision analysis, water safety plans and surveillance
  • Post-treatment microbial dynamics