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PBS Home Diagnosis Series
Ep310: Outside Sneaking In
People spend the majority of their lives indoors, and air and water safety are important. Here's the science and acts that can help unaffected families understand indoor water and air quality.

PBS Home Diagnosis Series
Ep307: What's That Smell?
Sick Building Syndrome — where people are over-sensitized to their environment — is a real thing. Here's the science and acts that can help unaffected families stay that way.

Purdue engineering professor Andrew Whelton is driven to help people. He found an opportunity to do that through disaster response. When communities are hit by devastating wildfires, water contamination can delay their recovery. Whelton, a water quality expert, provides guidance and testing that help local governments and townspeople understand the path back toward normalcy.

In this short film from its series The Climate and Us, BBC StoryWorks features Whelton’s efforts to help citizens in Louisville and Superior, Colorado, in the wake of the Marshall Fire. 

In this first episode of eleven in season 3, we explore fire – both house fires and wildfires, and dive deep into the science of smoke detectors, flame retardants, how fires spread and how they can be managed.

This video helps prepare water utility, emergency management, municipal, and elected officials for water system damage scenarios. Wildfires can damage water distribution system infrastructure both physically –and– chemically. Some damage may not be visible. Hazardous waste scale drinking water chemical contamination can be caused. This presentation does not cover all situations, but instead provides an introduction for the viewer. More information and help can be obtained by contacting the author.

Geek Speak
Wildfire Water Contamination
The San Lorenzo Valley in Santa Cruz County has a partial Do Not Drink / Do Not Boil order in affect: is that order appropriate, what causes Wildfire water contamination, and what are good actions we as a community can take? September 6, 2020.


BYU Radio's Top of Mind with Julie Rose
When Buildings Stand Empty, Water Quality Suffers
While many of us have spent the last month staying home to help slow the spread of coronavirus, the water in our now underused or vacant schools and offices has been sitting stagnant in pipes. Researchers at Purdue University got an emergency grant from the National Science Foundation to find out what dangers lurk in that water and how to make sure it's safe as we begin slowly returning to work. May 8, 2020.


This video explains how to (1) calculate water volume inside a building water pipe, (2) measure water flowrate for a water outlet, (3) calculate flushing time for a water outlet, and (4) recognize the risks of estimating water volume, flowrates and flushing times without as-built drawings. The presenter was Elizabeth Mongagnino from Purdue University. More information can be found at Questions can be directed to

This presentation is designed to help you better understand the value of flushing building water systems with fresh water. Viewers will learn how to: (1) Explain how flushing can improve water quality, (2) List the 3 goals of flushing, (3) Describe the difference between initial flushing and repeated flushing, (4) Explain the importance of flushing with fresh water, and (5) Outline potential complications with flushing. The presenter was Ms. Kyungyeon Ra from Purdue University. Questions can be directed to

Our team partnered with the University of Memphis and Michigan State University to conduct the largest and most intensive investigation of water quality over time and throughout a single house.  Our findings show the water quality of a home can differ in each room and change between seasons, challenging the assumption that the water in a public water system is the same as the water that passes through a building’s plumbing at any time of the year. We collected data 58 times at the house over the course of a year, logging more than 222,000 hours and 2.4 billion records. Read more:

Building and Environment article: An investigation of spatial and temporal drinking water quality variation in green residential plumbing

Five tips: Refresh your plumbing before and after the holidays to avoid buildup in pipes
This video explains how drinking water ages when in building plumbing sits for days

Presentation at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Sacramento, California. 2019
Implications for Health: Responding to and Recovery from the Wildfire Caused Drinking Water System Contamination

Purdue University presentation of
Camp Fire Drinking Water Survey Results
June 27 2019

Camp Fire Recovery Public Meeting
March 26, 2019, Paradise, CA
Dr. Andrew Whelton

How chemicals can contaminate plastics in water systems

Why is our plumbing harming us?
Andy Whelton

2014 Water Microbiology Conference
Keynote Address - Dr. Joan B. Rose

Low-flow Water System Project