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Erin Ling

Water Quality Senior Extension Specialist
  • Research areas: Private water supply testing and outreach, community watershed management, development of water quality education and outreach materials, social marketing and behavior change, program management


M.S., Rural Sociology, Penn State University, 2005

M.EPC., Environmental Pollution Control, Penn State University, 2004

B.A., International Studies (Development), Virginia Tech, 2000


June 2024-present- Sr. Extension Specialist and Coordinator, Virginia Household Water Quality Program, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

May 2010 – July 2024 – Sr. Extension Associate and Coordinator, Virginia Household Water Quality Program, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

March 2008 – May 2010 – Extension Associate and Coordinator, Virginia Household Water Quality Program, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

June 2005 – March 2008 – Certification Director, Pennsylvania Certified Organic, Spring Mills, PA

August 2002 – May 2005 – Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant, Penn State University

Coordinate the Virginia Household Water Quality Program, which affordable water testing and education to Virginians reliant on private water supplies (wells, springs, and cisterns) through extension offices in at least 65 counties annually. Partner with collaborating researchers to better understand private water supply water quality challenges. Applied research projects have focused on the following topics (collaborator and graduate student names in parentheses):

  • Bacteria source tracking (Krometis, Allevi, Smith)
  • Metals (lead) profiling (Pieper, Edwards, Krometis)
  • Arsenic risk model (VanDerwerker, Schreiber)
  • Contaminants of emerging concern/pharmaceuticals, personal care products and novel pesticides (Vesely, Xia)
  • Bayesian belief models to predict lead in water (Berglund, Faesee, Pieper, Edwards)
  • Strontium characterization (Scott, Juran)
  • PFAS contamination (Krometis, Xia)
  • Water equity, access and coping (Krometis)

Development and delivery of spray water testing program and supporting resources for Virginia agricultural producers

Development of social marketing and behavior change resources for community-based watershed organizations

Development and delivery of youth outreach focused on water quality (What’s in Your Water, Kids?)

Current Projects

  • Virginia Household Water Quality Program
  • Collaborative applied research focused on water equity, water access and coping (funder: Virginia Environmental Endowment)
  • Characterization of PFAS in private water supplies (funder: United States Geological Survey)
  • What’s in Your Water? Helping Producers Understand Spray Water Chemistry for Improved Pesticide Efficacy (funder: Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services/USDA-Specialty Crop Block Grant)

Selected Recent Publications

(* undergraduate student, ** graduate student)

  • Allevi, R. P., L. K. Krometis, C. Hagedorn, B. Benham, and A. Lawrence, E. Ling, P. Ziegler.  2013. Quantitative analysis of microbial contamination in private drinking water systems. J. of Water and Health 11(2): 244-255.
  • Armstrong, A., E. Ling, R. Stedman and P. Kleinman. 2011. Adoption of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in the New York City watershed: The role of farmer attitudes.  Journal of Soil and Water Conservation.  Volume 66, Number 5, p 337-344 September/October 2011.
  • Benham B., E. Ling, P. Ziegler, L. Krometis. What’s in your water? Development and Evaluation of the Virginia Household Water Quality Program and Virginia Master Well Owner Network. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension.  Volume 4, Number 1. February 2016.
  • Benham B., E. Ling. Virginia Household Water Quality Program: Household Water Treatment. Virginia Cooperative Extension 442-670. Accessible online
  • Mohammad Ali Khaksar Fasaee, Emily Berglund, Kelsey J. Pieper, Erin Ling, Brian Benham, Marc Edwards, Developing a framework for classifying water lead levels at private drinking water systems: A Bayesian Belief Network approach, Water Research, Volume 189, 2021
  • James [Ling], E., P. Kleinman, T. Veith, R. Stedman, and A. Sharpley.  Phosphorus contributions from pastured dairy cattle to streams of the Cannonsville Watershed, NY.  Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. Volume 62, Number 1, p. 40-47. January-February, 2007.
  • Ling, E. and B. Benham. 2014. Encouraging Sustainable Behavior: A Guide for National Fish and Wildlife Grantees to Implement Social Marketing Campaigns.  White paper.  Found online:
  • Scott**, V.; Juran, L.; Ling, E.J.; Benham, B.; Spiller, A. Assessing Strontium and Vulnerability to Strontium in Private Drinking Water Systems in Virginia. Water 2020, 12, 1053.
  • Sellner, K.G. M. Palmer, L. Wainger, A.P. Davis, B. Benham, E.J. Ling, and G. Yagow. 2011. Metrics and protocols for progress assessment in Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund Grants.  A report to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. CRC Publ. No. 11-173, Edgewater, MD. 470 pp.
  • Sherry**, J., Juran, L., Kolivras, K., Krometis, L., and Ling, E. Perceptions of Water Services and Innovations to Improve Water Services in Tanzania.  Public Works Management and Policy. Published December 13, 2018. doi:10.1177/1087724X18815486.
  • Smith, T., L. Krometis, C. Hagedorn, B. Benham, A. Hassall Lawrence, E. Ling, P. Ziegler, S. Marmagas. 2014. Associations between fecal indicator bacteria prevalence and demographic data in private water supplies in Virginia. Journal of Water and Health 12(4): 824-834.
  • VanDerwerker, T., Zhang, L., Ling, E., Benham, B., & Schreiber, M. (2018). Evaluating Geologic Sources of Arsenic in Well Water in Virginia (USA). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(4), 17 pages. doi:10.3390/ijerph15040787.

Selected Recent Funding

  • Characterizing prevalence and risk factors of PFAS in rural private water supplies, U.S. Geological Survey, $250,000 (11/2021 - 10/2023), PIs: Krometis LA; Xia K; Ling E
  • “What’s in Your Water? Helping Producers Understand Spray Water Chemistry for Improved Pesticide Efficacy” PI: Ling, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, USDA – Specialty Crop Block Grant, $60,000, 9/20-9/22
  • Best practices to support K-12 STEM remote learning in underserved communities, Virginia Tech Office of the Vice President for Research, $34,192, PIs: Ling E; Bonnett E; Schreiber M; Juran L; Scott D, 06/01/2020
  • Bridging the Gap: Creating Community Connections to Develop and Deliver Effective Remote Learning Opportunities, Virginia Tech Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, $10,000, PIs: Ling E; Bonnett E; Schreiber M; Juran L; Scott D, 05/15/2020
  • Collaboration Between Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and the Virginia Household Water Quality Program (VAHWQP), Rural Community Assistance, $13,000.00, Principal Investigators: Benham B; Ling E; Spiller A, 10/2020-03/2022
  • Training and Technical Assistance for Private Well Owners to Help Improve Water Quality, Rural Community Assistance Partnership, $26,000 (10/2018 - 9/2021), PIs: Benham Brian and Erin Ling
  • Identifying key challenges in maintaining water quality for households dependent on private water supplies in Southwest Virginia, Virginia Environmental Endowment, Maximum Amount: $97,731 (5/20-5/23) PI: Krometis Leigh Anne H, Ling Erin J (5/20-5/23)
  • “What’s In Your Water? Linking Rural Health and Household Drinking Water Safety” PI: L. Krometis, U.S. Department of Agriculture, $196,000, 1/12-1/13.
  • “Creation of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Master Well Owner Network and Development of Associated Continuing Education Resources”. PI: Brian Benham. $60,000. 9/10-9/12.
  • “National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Monitoring and Assessment Program”.  PI: G. Yagow. $100,000.  6/08-6/14.