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News and Events

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SDSU Engineers Enhance a Sustainable, Cheap Toilet Alternative

An innovative low-water toilet offers dignity and sanitation for underserved communities.

Environmental engineers at San Diego State University optimized a low-cost, low-water toilet that they are hoping to provide to homeless, rural and refugee populations who often lack regular, safe access to restrooms. 

Read the full stoy featuring Natalie Mladenov and doctoral student Lilith Astete Vasquez on SDSU NewsCenter.

Link Between the Salton Sea and Seismic Activity on the San Andrea Fault

Congratulations to Matt Weingarten and his group's work on Lake Cahuilla and earthquakes. The paper was published this summer in Nature and co-authored by Ryley Hill, Matt Weingarten, Tom Rockwell, and Yuri Fialko. Their work examines the Salton Sea's role in a lack of large-scale earthquakes on the San Andreas fault.

Read more about the research: The New York Times | The Washington Post |  Los Angeles Times | Eos

SDSU and SDSU Imperial Valley Collaborate in Binational Environmental Workshop

The conference hosted more than 30 experts to address environmental issues that affect the San Diego/Tijuana and Imperial Valley/Mexicali regions.

Read the full story on SDSU NewsCenter.

Toxic microplastics found where the rubber meets the road

The parts of your tires that get left on the road as you drive your car are a huge source of microplastic pollution, and some of it is toxic.

Researchers at San Diego State University (SDSU) have identified 60 chemical compounds in tires that end up in tire waste. And half of them had never been associated with tires before.

Read the full story on KPBS.

Fighting Flooding along the West Coast

San Diego State University water resources engineer Dr. Hassan Davani is the latest to earn a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for his work on just that: stormwater flooding and stormwater pollution. 

Read the story on SDSU NewsCenter.

How is Cross-Border Water Contamination Impacting San Diego County Long Term?

NBC 7’s Kelvin Henry spoke to a SDSU professor, Hassan Davani, who explains how sewage leaks contaminating water in southern San Diego County can impact the region in the long term.

Read/Watch the full story on NBC 7 San Diego.


SDSU Professor's Research on Micro Plastics and Human Health

Dr. Eunha Hoh's Laboratory is part of SDSU's School of Public Health. Our group addresses public health research questions through molecular-level analyses of chemical contaminants and biomarkers.

Read the story on SDSU NewsCenter.


Wintry weather could worsen California’s sewage influx from Tijuana

Hassan Davani, an assistant professor of water resources engineering at San Diego State University, was interviewed about how the recent heavy rains and the ongoing sewage leak across the border in Tijuana affect San Diego.

Read the full story on The Hill.

SDSU Research Spotlight - Dr. Alicia Kinoshita

Dr. Alicia Kinoshita runs a strong multidisciplinary research program in water resources and hydrology and her Disturbance Hydrology Lab focuses on the impacts of natural and human disturbances on surface water. She has a long-time commitment to undergraduate instruction, through courses, research and professional activities. 

Study Finds Sewer Leaks Responsible for Beach Closures

A study by SDSU researchers finds that the bacterial outbreaks in the San Diego River that force frequent local beach closures are caused primarily by leaks in aging sewer pipes, not by homeless encampments or failing septic tanks. 

Read/Watch the full story on The San Diego Tribune and CBS8 News.

Banned Contaminants Still Threaten Endangered California Condors

SDSU and San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance researchers find high levels of toxic compounds in coastal condors and the marine mammals they consume.  Blue Gold faculty, Eunha Hoh, was among the co-authors of the study. 

Read the full story on the LA Times and SDSU NewsCenter.

Navigating the San Diego River’s Past and its Future

Once the lifeblood of the local Kumeyaay people, urbanization has transformed the San Diego River. SDSU researchers are helping to address the problems that ensued.

Read the full story on SDSU NewsCenter

From Bacteria to Archaea: Resource Recovery from Wastewater

Environmental engineering professor Christy Dykstra earns an NSF CAREER award to continue her research on bioelectrotechnical systems for energy recovery from wastewater

Read the full story on NewsCenter

Big Ideas for Reimagining Transboundary Water

Congratulations to the Reimagining Transboundary Water team led by Natalie Mladenov, the William E. Leonhard, Jr. Chair and director of the Water Innovation and Reuse Lab, and geography professor Trent Biggs, named as a finalist in the Big Ideas initiative

Learn more about our Big Ideas Project Proposals.


NOAA Marine Debris Program Awards Funding

Congratulations to PI Hilary McMillan and co-PIs from the Blue Gold faculty: Trent Biggs, Alicia Kinoshita, Hassan Davani, Natalie Mladenov, and Megan Welsh for receiving funding from the NOAA Marine Debris Program.  This project will conduct field, laboratory, and modeling studies to understand the sources and amounts of marine debris entering the San Diego River watershed. Read more about the award.

Watch the 10 news interview about the project

Looking to Keep Imperial Beach Above Water

Hassan Davani was recently featured on NBC San Diego to discuss the flooding issues in Imperial Beach.  Read the story/Watch the video.

Microplastic Pollution Report

The Ocean Science Trust (OST) and Ocean Protection Council (OPC) released their precautionary framework and risk assessment for microplastic pollution in California. The report will aid in assessing, addressing, and managing microplastics in our marine systems. Blue Gold faculty, Dr. Eunha Hoh was a co-chair on the OPC Science Advisory Panel responsible for the report.
Download the report summary. | Download the full report.

NSF Grant Awarded

Congratulations to Hassan Davani, winner of a $500K NSF research grant for Collaborative Research: Sustainable Water Infrastructure for Adapting to Coastal Climate Change.

COVID Research Study

Drs. Mladenov, Verbyla, and Sant have been funded by the San Diego River Conservancy and CSU COAST to evaluate the persistence of SARS-coronavirus-2 in natural waters. 

Given that untreated wastewater can be introduced to coastal and riverine environments via sewer exfiltration, SSOs, illegal discharges, and ocean sewage outfalls, there is a need to better understand the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater and surface water.

Their study seeks to quantify SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater and evaluate its persistence in the aquatic environment through spiking and degradation experiments combined with sample collection from waterways with known wastewater contamination.

Testing the Waters, Finding a Passion

Graduate student Jade Johnson received the prestigious Switzer Fellowship to pursue safe and sustainable water systems, a commitment with an unexpectedly personal connection. Read the full story on SDSU NewsCenter.

New Appointment and Grant News

Congratulations to Dr. Alicia Kinoshita for her appointment as the new SDSU Director of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities. As part of the strategic initiative to foster student success, Dr. Kinoshita will support and advance critical undergraduate experiences such as the Student Research Symposium, Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, and the Associated Students Undergraduate Research Committee. She will also lead efforts to coordinate and expand a diverse program of undergraduate research and creative activities across the campus.

Dr. Kinoshita also was recently awarded a grant by the DOI Bureau of Land Management for her project "Improving post-wildfire peak streamflow predictions for small watersheds and communities."

Volunteer Position with AGU

AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX) team is seeking scientists to join an innovative community science effort focused on citizen science, watershed education and restoration of Chollas Creek.

They are looking for a scientist to work with Kristen Hurst (GrounWork-San Diego) to help determine what kinds of data should be collected to document and analyze the health of the Chollas stream ecosystem. The scientist will work with the community to develop easy-to-understand and use protocols for data collection and data sharing that can be used widely by upper-elementary students and their parents. Your expertise with sustainable water resource solutions is a good match for this project.

The scientist must be available to meet the community leaders to discuss the work and tour parts of the neighborhood.  All work is volunteer/pro-bono and usually entails 2-3 hours of work per week, on average. Read the full description of the project.

What’s Actually In the Tijuana River? SDSU Grad Students Want to Know

Dr. Kari Sant and graduate student, Alexandra Fox, were interviewed on NBC San Diego about their study of the water in the Tijuana River Estuary.

Watch the video/Read the story

Learn more about some of our projects in action.

Imagine a Day Without Water

Most Americans take water for granted. They turn on the tap, and clean water flows out. They flush the toilet, and dirty water goes away. Most Americans hardly think twice about the infrastructure that brings water to their homes, and safely returns water to our environment – but they should. The reality is, our water infrastructure is aging and failing. While most Americans cannot imagine a day without water, there are many communities that have lived, and are living, without water because they don’t have access to safe and reliable water systems. October 10th is Imagine a Day Without Water.

Learn more about this event and how you can make a difference.