Qualifications of Dr. G. Fred Lee in
Evaluation and Management of Water Supply Water Quality

Throughout his more than 50-year professional career Dr. G. Fred Lee has been active in a variety of aspects of domestic water supply water quality issues, specifically the evaluation and management of tastes and odors.

Dr. Lee’s Masters Thesis research project at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, was devoted to evaluating some of the properties of chlorine dioxide as it is used in domestic water supplies for taste and odor control. His dissertation for his PhD. degree in Environmental Engineering at Harvard University in the late 1950s specifically focused on taste and odor problems in domestic water supplies that were associated with the chlorination of phenols. It was known that the addition of chlorine to waters containing phenol from industrial sources often led to severe medicinal odors in the treated waters. Chlorophenolic taste and odor in domestic water supplies has been one of the classic problems faced by water utilities, especially prior to the effective water pollution control of phenolic compounds from industrial sources. Dr. Lee's Ph.D. dissertation specifically focused on examining the kinetics of the chlorination of phenol as it leads to taste and odor production. He was able to demonstrate how chlorination is influenced by some of the operating parameters in treatment, such as pH, chlorine dose and phenol concentrations. The result of his work led to specific recommendations for water utilities on how to chlorinate phenol-containing waters to minimize taste and odor production.

Dr. Lee has had extensive experience in physical chemical treatment of water and wastes. For 30 years he taught graduate-level engineering design courses in these areas and has been involved as a consultant to a number of public and private entities on them. He is familiar with how various treatment processes can affect the intensity and characteristics of tastes and odors in domestic water supplies. He is also familiar with the use of water treatment technologies, such as ozone, chlorine dioxide, activated carbon and potassium permanganate, for controlling tastes and odors in domestic water supplies.

Evaluation and management of water quality in lakes and reservoirs has also been a focal point of much of Dr. Lee’s professional work. A substantial portion of that work was directed toward the impact of the water quality on the use of the water for domestic water supply. In the 1960’s, Dr. Lee established, developed, and directed the Water Chemistry Program in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. During the 13 years he directed it, that program was highly involved in lake and reservoir water quality investigation and management. Approximately 100 of his graduate students did their masters theses or Ph.D. dissertations on various aspects of lake and reservoir water quality; one of the principal focal points of that work was excessive fertilization issues. He pioneered in the development of approaches for evaluating the impact of a waterbody's watershed on the waterbody's water quality.

Also in the 1960's, Dr. Lee was appointed vice-chair of the Lake Mendota Water Quality Management Committee. Lake Mendota is one of the most intensively studied waterbodies in the world due to the long history of limnological research conducted by the University of Wisconsin, Madison, faculty and students. From 1960 through the early 1970s many of the water chemistry studies conducted on Lake Mendota were under the direction of Dr. Lee. During that time Dr. Lee was also involved in Great Lakes water quality issues, and served as an advisor to the International Joint Commission for the Great Lakes on excessive fertilization issues. He has been involved as an advisor on water supply reservoir water quality issues in the Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Spain, Israel, Jordan, Japan, the USSR, Dominican Republic, South Africa and Argentina.

On behalf of the Water Resources Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Dr. Lee developed a comprehensive overview of the causes, processes, implications, and management of the eutrophication of waterbodies:

Lee, G.F., "Eutrophication," University of Wisconsin Eutrophication Information Program Occasional Paper no. 2, 32 pp (1970) [also published in Transactions of the Northeast Fish and Wildlife conference, pp 39-60 (1973), and available upon request from gfredlee33@gmail.com as EF014]

In that review he discussed not only the nature of the role of nitrogen, phosphorus and other constituents in causing excessive fertilization, but also, and most importantly, approaches that can be used to manage excessive fertilization. That review remains one of the most comprehensive reviews available on this topic.

Dr. Lee was involved in the lake and reservoir management studies conducted by the state of Wisconsin in the late 1960s to early 1970s. As part of that program, whole-lake experimental approaches were used to evaluate the efficacy of a variety of strategies for evaluating and managing water quality in excessively fertile lakes; strategies evaluated included adding alum to the lake to remove phosphorus, aeration of the lake to mix the hypolimnion and epilimnion, hypolimnetic aeration, aquatic plant harvesting, among others. Dr. Lee was involved in a number of additional projects in the state of Wisconsin in which alum was used to treat whole lakes for phosphorus removal; he supervised the master thesis work of one of his students on this topic. Dr. Lee has developed specific guidance for discerning situations in which alum treatment for phosphorus removal can be effective, and where it should not be used. Critical to this assessment is the relative role of phosphorus in controlling excessive fertilization in the waterbody.

For a number of years beginning in the 1970s, Dr. Lee was a member of the American Water Works Association's national ‘Quality Control in Reservoirs’ Committee. During that time, the committee specifically addressed the value of mixing of lakes, either by aeration or pumping, for the purpose of managing eutrophication-related water quality problems. It was the committee's conclusion, supported by the fundamental chemistry of nutrients, that aeration of a whole waterbody could be significantly adverse to the eutrophication-related water quality. However, oxygenation of the hypolimnion could be effective in establishing cold-water fisheries and improving water supply water quality through the reduction of nutrient transport from the hypolimnion to the epilimnion. It could also enable the water utility to use the hypolimnion as a water supply source. In 1965 Dr. Lee published a paper entitled, "Effect of Intake Location on Water Quality," in Industrial Water Engineering, which specifically addressed the importance of evaluating domestic water supply water quality as a function of depth, and how, through selective withdrawal, water utilities can optimize their water quality in a thermally stratified waterbody.

While working with the state of Wisconsin Department of Conservation, Dr. Lee studied the impact of aeration of Comstock Reservoir on water quality. He examined the impact of aeration not only on the chemical and biological characteristics, but also on the fisheries of the waterbody. Dr. Lee has had extensive experience in the evaluation of the impacts of various types of chemicals used to control algae and other aquatic weeds, including copper and diquat, on a waterbody's water quality and fisheries. Further, he is familiar with regulatory issues associated with the use of chemicals for aquatic plant control and their impact on non-target aquatic life.

Dr. Lee has extensive experience in assessing and managing the couplings among eutrophication, eutrophication control, and fish and other aquatic organisms. He published what has become recognized as one of the most comprehensive reviews of the impacts of eutrophication and water quality management in reservoirs on fish populations:

Lee, G.F. and Jones R.A., "Effects of Eutrophication of Fisheries," Reviews in Aquatic Sciences, 5:287-305, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL (1991) [Available at:http://www.gfredlee.com/Nutrients/fisheu.html]

It reviews how managing algae-related water quality in a reservoir can influence the fisheries of the waterbody.

During the 1970s, Dr. Lee held the US EPA contract to develop a synthesis report for the US part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) eutrophication studies. The approximately $50-million OECD eutrophication studies examined the nutrient load—eutrophication-related water quality response relationships in about 200 waterbodies located in 22 countries (western Europe, North America, Japan, and Australia) over a five-year period. In addition to developing the US OECD report synthesizing the data on about 40 US waterbodies, Dr. Lee served as an advisor to the overall international studies. Dr. Lee's primary contribution in this effort was in the development, evaluation, and application of empirical nutrient load—eutrophication-response relationships that can be used by water utilities to examine how land use in a waterbody's watershed influences nutrient transport to the waterbody from the watershed and the waterbody's water quality. Dr. Lee and Dr. Jones-Lee have published extensively on this topic including several comprehensive reviews such as, Jones, R. A. and Lee, G. F., "Eutrophication Modeling for Water Quality Management: An Update of the Vollenweider-OECD Model," World Health Organization's Water Quality Bulletin 11(2):67-74, 118 (1986). http://www.gfredlee.com/Nutrients/voll_oecd.html.

Throughout this work, Dr. Lee has focused on issues of concern to water utilities. He published several papers, including:

Jones, R. A. and Lee, G. F., "Chlorophyll - A Raw Water Quality Parameter," Journal American Water Works Association 74:490-494 (1982). [available at www.gfredlee.com/WSWQ/ChlorophyllRawWater.pdf].

to help utilities manage their raw water quality.

While serving as chairman of the AWWA national Quality Control in Reservoirs Committee, he and Dr. Jones developed several committee reports that were designed to assist water utilities in managing their raw water quality: Lee, G. F. and Jones, R. A., "Study Program for Development of Information For Use of Vollenweider-OECD Eutrophication Modeling in Water Quality Management for Lakes and Reservoirs," G. Fred Lee & Associates, El Macero, CA (1992). [available as EF007 upon request from gfredlee33@gmail.com].

Lee, G.F. and R.A. Jones, "Determination of Nutrient Limiting Maximum Algal Biomass in Waterbodies," G. Fred Lee & Associates, El Macero, CA (1998). http://www.gfredlee.com/Nutrients/nut_limit.html

Dr. Lee was asked by the organizers of a University of California Water Resources Center conference devoted to water supply source water quality issues, to develop a review of water quality issues in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in the Central Valley of CA. This resulted in Drs. Lee and Jones-Lee’s publication of a paper and report:

Lee, G. F. and Jones, R. A., “Managing Delta Algal-Related Drinking Water Quality: Tastes and Odors and THM Precursors,” Published in “Protecting Drinking Water Quality at the Source,” proceedings of a Conference, Univ. of California Water Resources Center, Report no. 76, October (1991).

Lee, G. F. and Jones, R. A., “Regulating Drinking Water Quality at the Source,” Presented at Univ. of California Water Resources Center Conference, “Protecting Drinking Water Quality at the Source,” Sacramento, CA, April 3-4 (1991). http://www.gfredlee.com/WSWQ/wswqsour.htm

Those publications specifically discuss issues of how land use within and upstream of the Delta influences the quality of the domestic water supply derived from the Delta. Further, as part of the CA/NV AWWA Section Source Water Quality Committee, Dr. Lee developed a review for the committee on the impact of the drought in the late 1980s - early 1990s on domestic water supply water quality:

Lee, G. F. and Jones, R. A., "Impact of the Current California Drought on Source Water Supply Water Quality," Presented at CA/NV AWWA Fall conference, Anaheim, CA, 30pp, October (1991). [available upon request from gfredlee33@gmail.com].

That paper reviewed how the algae-related quality of the water derived from the Delta adversely impacts domestic water supply water quality through taste and odors and THMs.

More recently Dr. Lee has been involved in developing guidance on approaches that need to be considered for controlling total organic carbon and dissolved organic carbon in the Delta and its tributaries, as they relate to controlling THM precursors by water utilities that utilize Delta water as a raw water source. He has developed two reports on this issue:

Lee, G. F., “G. Fred Lee and Anne Jones-Lee’s Work on Domestic Water Supply Water Quality, and TOC Issues in the Delta,” Report of G. Fred Lee & Associates, El Macero, CA (2004). http://www.gfredlee.com/SJR-Delta/GFL-DeltaTOCWork.pdf

Lee, G. F. and Jones-Lee, A., “Issues that Need to Be Considered in Evaluating the Sources and Potential Control of TOC That Leads to THMs for Water Utilities that Use Delta Water as a Water Supply Source,” Report of G. Fred Lee & Associates, El Macero, CA, May 27 (2003). http://www.gfredlee.com/SJR-Delta/TOC_update.pdf

Those reports stress the importance of focusing total organic carbon (TOC) control on sources of refractory (non-degradable) TOC rather than on total TOC. This is because appreciable parts of the TOC in the Delta tributaries can be present in labile (degradable) forms that would not persist in the tributary and Delta to a water supply intake.

Much of Dr. Lee's extensive work on excessive fertilization of waterbodies has focused on eutrophic/hypertrophic waterbodies in which blue-green algae dominate the flora. Blue-green algae can be a significant source of tastes and odors in domestic water supplies. A number of Dr. Lee’s graduate students did their Ph.D. dissertations on water quality issues associated with blue-green algae; topics investigated included nitrogen fixation by blue-green algae, the role of thermocline migration and erosion in the transference of hypolimnetic nutrients to surface waters where they stimulate blue-green algal blooms, and the role of sediments and other sources of nitrogen and phosphorus compounds in controlling blue-green algae dominance in waterbodies.

Dr. Lee has been involved in several major projects on behalf of water utilities specifically designed to examine how land use in a water supply reservoir’s watershed influences raw water quality. In what is believed to be one of the most comprehensive studies of this type ever undertaken, Dr. Lee conducted a multi-year, several hundred-thousand-dollar project on behalf of the City of Dallas, Texas, water utility. That study specifically addressed the issues of how changes in land use in the watershed of Lake Ray Hubbard, one of the primary water supply reservoirs for the city of Dallas, influenced taste- and odor-related water quality. The study considered not only algae but also actinomycetes as sources of taste and odors. Dr. Lee and his graduate student (Archibald) published a paper on the results of that investigation:

Archibald, E. M. and Lee, G. F., "Application of the OECD Eutrophication Modeling Approach to Lake Ray Hubbard, Texas," Journal American Water Works Association, 73:590-599 (1981). http://www.gfredlee.com/Nutrients/OECDLakeRayHub.pdf

Dr. Lee conducted a similar study for the Olathe, Kansas, water utility, in which he examined the relationship between land-use practices in Lake Olathe's watershed and the waterbody's raw water quality.

Dr. Lee also conducted a study on behalf of the Lubbock, Texas, water utility related to controlling THMs in its finished water by controlling the sources of organic carbon in its raw water derived from Lake Meredith. This was an unusual situation in that a freshwater sponge was growing in the raw water transmission line between the reservoir and the water utility; it developed to a thickness of a foot or more inside the pipe. The sponge was obtaining its nutrients from organics derived from in-line open reservoirs along the transmission line.

One of the areas that Dr. Lee has pioneered is the development of guidance to water utilities and others on how to design a water supply reservoir to minimize raw water quality problems. He presented a paper on this topic:

Lee, G. F. and Jones, R. A., "Predicting Domestic Water Supply Raw Water Quality in Proposed Impoundments," IN: Proc. American Water Works Association 1984 Annual Conference Proceedings, pp 1611-1630 (1984). http://www.gfredlee.com/WSWQ/RawWQProposedImp84.pdf

Drs. Lee and Jones-Lee assisted the Municipal Water Supply Authority for Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to evaluate the adequacy of a proposed water treatment plant for treating the waters derived from a yet-to-be-developed water supply reservoir on a river. Dr. Lee predicted the raw water quality in the proposed reservoir based on land use in the reservoirs' watershed. From that prediction, he concluded that the proposed water treatment plant would not be able to produce high-quality water and recommended changes in the design of the treatment plant to more appropriately address the water quality characteristics that would be expected based on the proposed reservoirs' watershed.

Another area of concern to water utilities is the impact of releases from a reservoir on downstream water quality. Dr. Lee has been active for many years in work in this area, including serving as an advisor to the Tennessee Valley Authority and other agencies on the impact of reservoir releases on downstream water quality. Several years ago he co-authored a review on this topic:

Krenkel, P. A.; Lee, G. F. and Jones, R. A., "Effects of TVA Impoundments on Downstream Water Quality and Biota," IN: The Ecology of Regulated Streams, Plenum Press, New York, pp 289-306 (1979). [available upon request from gfredlee33@gmail.com.]

In a related area, Dr. Lee has become familiar with water quality issues peculiar to golf courses, including the impacts of constituents in irrigation waters that could impact golf course turf and runoff, and the impact of golf course runoff on receiving water quality.

Additional information on Dr. Lee and Dr. Jones-Lee's expertise in the evaluation and management of water supply water quality is available upon request from Dr. Lee at gfredlee33@gmail.com.

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