WERI News

UOG-WERI Teamwork Lands USEDA Funding for
New WERI Building

2/19/2021

In UOG News, WERI receives funding from USEDA, through the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program, to construct a new WERI Research Facility. WERI Director Dr. John Jenson says,  “The high-quality work of WERI’s faculty and staff has driven the need for the new, bigger, and better facility. Their work brought WERI the national recognition that made it competitive for this award.”

Para Hulo’ Team:
Cathleen Moore-Linn and
Dr. Rosann Jones
 


“This is a classic success story for the value of long-term, strategic planning and the value of having an organizational culture that fosters and rewards teamwork. Our success in landing this grant actually has its immediate origins in the current president’s Para Hulo initiative, and in the previous president’s Good-to-Great initiative along with his having spearheaded the creation of the Research Corporation University of Guam (RCUOG): I recall the afternoon a couple of years ago when I was meeting as a member of the Para Hulo Infrastructure Committee, led by Dave Okada and Jim Hollyer. The subject of discussion was activities at the university that might be constrained by lack of space or facilities, and which might otherwise be more productive, even revenue-generating. I pointed out that our water lab at WERI was a prime candidate and that WERI itself was spilling out of its building by the Marine Lab and into House 5 and containers proliferating around it in Dean’s Circle. WERI had acquired an additional faculty position in 2015 from the Good-to-Great initiative but had no office space in its main building, so had to put its new faculty member in House 5—where my faculty office had been located since 2012. All on the Committee agreed that WERI was a good candidate, and then the Executive Director of RCUOG, Cathleen Moore-Linn volunteered, “I think I know how we can fund it!” The faculty and staff at WERI, especially our lab staff and lab faculty coordinator, Dr Barry Kim, drew up specific needs and helped to identify what the lab and WERI contribute to economic development and recovery for the USEDA application. The faculty member whose position WERI had gained from G2G and who had been initially placed in House 5, Dr. Nate Habana, drew up the floor plans for new building, and we all worked with Cathleen and RCUOG to prepare and submit the proposal, which Cathleen shepherded through the process from beginning to end. It is hard to imagine how this would have come about without the existence of RCUOG, the advent of G2G and Para Hulo, and the leadership of the specific people (whose names I mentioned) who led and staffed the initiatives, and, of course, the faculty and staff at WERI who do the high-quality work that has brought WERI the national recognition that made it eligible and competitive in the eyes of the granting agency, and which has driven the need for the new, bigger, and better facility in the first place.”

 In 2019, to support UOG’s Para Hulo’ strategy, WERI Director, Dr. Jenson, organized a WERI Building Team of WERI Faculty and Staff to work with RCUOG Executive Director Cathleen Moore-Linn to prepare the USEDA application.  WERI also retained UOG Economist Dr. Rosanne Jones to advise on a business model for the 

TRMA draft of the new WERI Building


WERI Building Team: 
Dr. Barry Kim, Ms. Jennifer Cruz, 
Ms. Mallary Duenas, 
Dr. N.C. Habana, Ms. Gema Capati, and Mr. Anthony Agustin

 

Water Quality Laboratory. WERI team members for the Water Quality Laboratory former Laboratory Manager, Ms. Jennifer Cruz, and Laboratory Faculty Coordinator, Dr. Barry Kim. Ms. Cruz and Dr. Kim worked with Dr. Jones in evaluating the market and economic position  and potential of the laboratory. WERI’s Operations Manager for its Guam Hydrologic Survey Program, which utilizes its other laboratories, Dr. Nathan Habana, worked with Ms. Cruz, UOG Facility Maintenance, and Ms. Moore-Linn to design the functional requirements, floor plan, and estimate the cost of the building. Interim WERI Water Quality Laboratory Manager, Ms. Mallary Duenas, now joins the team to continue with Dr. Kim to incorporate the finer details to the laboratory as plans move forward.  WERI administrative staff, Ms. Gema Payumo and Mr. Anthony Augustin have also been appointed to the team to focus on configuring and equipping the building for administrative and business support requirements.

 Dr. Jenson says, “The successful funding of the new WERI building reflects the vision and initiatives of the current and previous administrations, and across-the-board teamwork of dedicated and visionary administrators, faculty, and staff at all levels to identify the opportunity and work closely and persistently together to achieve a common goal.  It is also a reflection of the quality of individual work and teamwork by WERI faculty, staff, and students that have made WERI competitive for such investment by the University and national granting agencies.”

GWA GM presents wastewater concerns and strategies to the
Rotary Club of Guam

2/9/2021

Guam Waterworks Authority General Manager Miguel Bordallo, P.E., speaks to the Rotary Club of Guam at its Thursday, 28 January meeting on “Protecting the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer (NGLA): GWA’s Actions for Water Resource Protection.” Mr. Bordallo described the system of 120 wells from which GWA produces 90% of Guam’s drinking water and cited WERI’s contributions to GWA’s aquifer protection efforts.  His presentation cites results of ongoing work at WERI to document the incidence of nitrate contamination, and the spatial patterns and temporal trends in concentrations.  Through WERI’s work, UOG is an active partner with GWA in managing and protecting the quality of Guam’s drinking water.

The ongoing WERI research results cited by Mr. Bordallo have been compiled primarily by WERI undergraduate research assistant Jezreelyn Bulaklak. During the past year-and-a-half, Ms. Bulaklak has graphically analyzed and mapped four decades of nitrate-N concentration data for more than 140 local and military production wells. Ms. Bulaklak’s analyses identified more than 60 production wells that exhibited increasing nitrate-N concentration during the period of record. Her work builds on an earlier WERI nitrate-N trend analysis by McDonald (2002) (WERI Technical Report 95).  Ms. Bulaklak’s work directly supports work underway by GWA to identify the highest-value wells that are threatened by nitrate contamination and set priorities for preventive and remedial actions such as sewer main repair, installation, and household lateral connectionCurrent nitrate levels are still within the USEPA safe drinking water standards. The efforts underway by GWA are to ensure nitrate levels remain within the standard (i.e., less than 10 mg/L or ppm, parts per million, nitrate-N) across the aquifer.

A noteworthy outcome of Ms. Bulaklak’s research is a set of overlays in WERI’s new NGLA Map Series, in which results of her temporal analyses of nitrate concentrations in production wells (Bulaklak and Habana 2021) can be overlain on WERI’s Hydrogeologic Map of the NGLA (2018 edition by Habana and Jenson), which incorporated aquifer  basement topography (Vann et al. 2014), geologic map sections (Siegrist et al. 2007), and calculated water table and basin flow-line boundaries (Gingerich 2013). Such overlays to the NGLA map can help identify areas of concern and determine effective aquifer protection strategies. The new overlay compiled by Ms. Bulaklak is complementary to the NGLA sewer status survey (Heitz and Habana 2006).

WERI has supported GWA and its predecessors with scientific research and advice since WERI was established at the University of Guam in 1975.  WERI faculty, staff, and students are actively engaged with GWA and the rest of Guam’s water resources professional community—both civilian and military—through several venues, including the Guam Hydrologic Survey Program, WERI Guam Advisory Council, One-Guam Water MOU’s, Technical Experts Group, the American Water Works Association, and other professional organizations and activities.

GM Bordallo’s online presentation to the Rotary Club of Guam.

The NGL Map Series: sewer connection survey and production well nitrate analysis

Jezreelyn is a senior majoring in chemistry at UOG, scheduled to graduate in May. Her research advisor at WERI is Dr. Habana with WERI Director Dr. Jenson as Co-PI. The work will be published in a WERI technical report scheduled for May 2021. A scientific advisory report was published last December, and cited in the Guam Post (SAR, news).

2020 Graduate
Master of Science in Environmental Science


WERI is proud to announce another new brilliant Master of Environmental Science Graduate of 2020: Mr. Paul Bourke. Paul is the product of the University of Guam’s Graduate Studies Program, Master of Science in Environmental Science who produced a WERI Master’s Thesis Project. His project focused on improving production capacity of the Santa Rita Spring. Mr. Bourke’s technical report is now available 
here >>

Mr. Paul Bourke

Graduated May 2020
Committee: Jenson, Habana, Lander, and Ho

2020 Year Photo Gallery of WERI Graduate

Select a photo to open image viewer.

In memory of the one-year memorial anniversary of the late Dr. Joseph D. Rouse, the University of Guam established the Joseph D. Rouse Scholarship for Professional Excellence and Integrity administered through the UOG Endowment Foundation. The scholarship is awarded only once every year to graduate or undergraduate research assistants to support registration or travel costs to a professional conference. WERI faculty select candidates based on the principles of professional excellence and integrity. Awardees are those who satisfy all criteria of top-quality research production and publication, outstanding academic performance, and exemplary  personal character. Read more>>

 USGS: WERI is “OUTSTANDING” 

The Water and Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific at University of Guam is one of 12 institutes out of 54 federally authorized water research institutes in the nation receives the U.S. Geological Survey’s top rating of “outstanding” in its latest five-year evaluation. Read more (UOG News) >>

Read more (Pacific News Center) >>
Read more (Guam Pacific Daily News)>>

January 2020 | WERI Team
Standing outside, WERI is Outstanding!

2019 Graduates
Master of Science in Environmental Science

WERI is proud to announce four new brilliant Masters of Environmental Science Graduates of 2019: Ms. Jennifer O. Cruz, Ms. Bekah Dougher, Ms. Lyuqin Liu, and Mr. Daniel G. Superales. These outstanding graduates are the product of the University of Guam’s Graduate Studies Program, Master of Science in Environmental Science who each produced WERI Master’s Thesis Projects.

Ms. Jennifer O. Cruz

Graduated May 2019
Committee: Denton, Biggs, Donaldson, and Jenson

Ms. Bekah Dougher

Graduated May 2019
Presidential Thesis Award
Comm: Habana, Jenson, Lander, and Ho

Ms. Lyuqin Liu

Graduated December 2019
Comm: Kim, Rouse, Jenson,
and Wu

Mr. Daniel G. Superales

Graduated December 2019
Comm: Habana, Jenson,
and Gingerich
superalesd@triton.uog.edu

 2019 Year Photo Gallery of WERI Graduates

Select a photo to open image viewer.

Thankful for clean, running water, electricity 

With Thanksgiving only a few days away, I’ve been thinking about how good we’ve got it. My parents were members of the Great Generation that grew up during the Great Depression and started their adult lives during World War II.

Dad grew up on a sheep ranch in a mountain valley of Idaho, elevation 6,000 feet, with mountains on both sides rising to 12,000 feet. Cold, snowy winters and short, dry summers. His house had what dad called “outdoor plumbing” — an outhouse in back, with a hand-dug well on the other side, from which they drew water one bucketful at a time, by hand.

They heated water on a pot-bellied wood stove, and occasionally, in the summertime, heated about 10 gallons — enough to fill a portable bathtub — once. Everyone in the family took their turn, using the same bathwater. His three sisters took their turns first, so the water was cold and soapy by the time it was dad’s turn.

They did their homework next to a kerosene lamp. When he enlisted in the Navy, dad couldn’t believe how great life was in boot camp: hot food (all he could eat) that he didn’t have to cook himself, electric lights, flush toilets and showers … warm showers. And he didn’t have to do any real work, just calisthenics every morning, laps around a track and occasional runs through an obstacle course.

The Navy gave him a whole footlocker full of new clothing, taught him to swim and even fixed his teeth. And when he got on the ship, he had all of those same luxuries and only had to pull watch for four hours at time (instead of all night long, as during lambing season). Navy life was the best!
 
My generation was the first to grow up taking all those luxuries for granted, but hardly a day went by that I didn’t hear my dad express his gratitude that he didn’t have to carry water into the house, or heat it on the stove and that he could read under a clean electric light instead of a smoky kerosene lamp.

Dad’s generation on Guam also had outdoor plumbing; they relied on roof catchments instead of hand-dug wells but also had to bring water into the house by hand, and only used a few gallons a day. Most all of us now use an average of 70 to 100 gallons a day of hot and cold, disinfected, pressurized water delivered 24/7 right inside our houses.

We live better than the richest royalty of centuries past. Who among our great grandparents, let alone the generations before them, could have imagined that people of our time, even in cities of millions of people or islands surrounded by thousands of miles of ocean would have clean drinking water, let alone electrical power, delivered to every house?

We who live on Guam are probably more mindful of this miracle than our contemporaries in the states, who have never gone without power or water in the aftermath of a big storm, but even we can take these luxuries for granted. We are blessed to have reliable, well-led utilities that deliver these luxuries to us for a fair price year-round.

So, I’m thankful for the men and women of GWA and GPA, and our drillers, regulators and all the other professionals who work together to provide us with clean running water, flush toilets, electric lighting, air conditioning and the good life that my dad never took for granted.

John W. Jenson, Ph.D., is Director of the Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, Chief Hydrogeologist and Professor of Environmental Geology at the University of Guam.

Original source from Guam PDN
Published 11:15 a.m. CHST Nov. 20, 2019
Posted on 12/15/2019

WERI remembers Dr. Joseph D. Rouse

“All of us at WERI hold Dr. Rouse in the highest esteem for his integrity, competence, humor, collegiality, and graciousness.  He was a team player…whose contributions were fundamental to the success of WERI and the University in serving the people of Guam and the region: 

He was a first-rate classroom instructor and student advisor.  He had genuine affection for his students and was dedicated to their success—while at the same time setting the highest standards for their performance and insisting on true mastery of the skills and knowledge of their science. 

He was a first-rate research scientist and professional engineer with extraordinary talent for innovative work on practical problems.  His work on nitrate contamination of groundwater on Guam is of central importance to effective management of the quality of Guam’s drinking water.  He was also leading pioneering research into the techniques of using seawater rather than freshwater for sewage treatment, which would help to conserve the island’s drinking water resources in the future.  His work on small-island waste management and treatment in Yap and Pohnpei also epitomized the WERI mission of finding practical solutions for island water resources management.  We will do our best to carry on these important lines of research.  

Besides his contributions as an instructor and researcher, Dr. Rouse was one of the pillars of the University faculty:  For the past two years he chaired the Environmental Science Program, while also serving in the Faculty Senate.  Prior to that, he led the Senate’s Undergraduate Curriculum Review Committee, while also serving on its General Education Review Committee.  This past April, he was elected to serve on the University’s Promotion and Tenure Committee. And in May, he was re-elected to a second two-year term as chair of the Environmental Science program.  Throughout his tenure as a member of the WERI faculty he played a pivotal role in launching the University’s new School of Engineering by voluntarily assisting in its curriculum development, leading its search committees, and even advising its students, until the new school acquired sufficient faculty of its own. 

Dr. Rouse’s soft-spoken and gentle demeanor—and his subtle sense of humor—endeared him to all who worked him.  He never lost his temper, and was a stabilizing influence and voice of reason in every group discussion.  He was one of the faculty’s acknowledged leaders—indeed, one of the university’s leaders.  His advice was respected and sought by everyone—administrators, faculty, staff, and students. 

This is not gratuitous praise: Dr. Rouse’s scholarship, leadership, teaching, and mentorship of his students and younger faculty were exemplary, and his career epitomized the values of technical competence and professional integrity in science and engineering.

By now, most of you are aware that we are establishing the Joseph D. Rouse Scholarship for Professional Excellence and Integrity.  This is not only to honor Dr. Rouse’s memory but also—what would matter most to him—to preserve his legacy as a role model for university faculty and for our new environmental scientists and engineers whose careers are beginning with their education and training at the University of Guam.  In this way, he will not only have touched the lives and careers of his colleagues and students gathered here this afternoon, but the lives and careers of generations of UOG faculty, staff, and students to come.

We will greatly miss Joe, and are committed to honoring his memory and preserving his legacy.”

His family has expressed a desire to establish the Joseph D. Rouse Scholarship for Professional Excellence and Integrity in loving memory of Dr. Rouse and his work. Family and friends may make a contribution here to go towards funding this scholarship.

The Dr. Joseph D. Rouse Scholarship is made possible through UOG Endowment Foundation.

John W. Jenson
WERI Director

Posted 8/27/2019