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Leigh-Anne Krometis

Associate Professor
  • Turner Faculty Fellow


Ph.D., Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina, 2009

M.S., Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2004

B.S., Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2002


August 2017 - present - Associate Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

Aug 2011 - July 2017 - Assistant Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

Sept 2009 - July 2011 - Research Assistant Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

April 2009 - Aug 2009 - Postdoctoral Research Associate, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina

Selected Major Awards

  • 2017 – ASABE AW Farrall Young Educator Award
  • 2014 - College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Outstanding Assistant Professor
  • 2012 - Virginia Tech Favorite Faculty Award
  • 2012 - Alpha Epsilon Outstanding Faculty Award
  • 2009 - University of North Carolina Graduate Education Advancement Board Dissertation Impact Award
  • 2004 - ASABE Robert E. Stewart Engineering and Humanities Award

Courses Taught Last Five Years

  • BSE 2004: Into to Biological Systems Engineering
  • BSE 3334: NPS Assessment and Control
  • BSE 4394: Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries
  • BSE 5124: Advanced Topics in Watershed Management

Other Teaching and Advising

I currently serve as a Senior Fellow in the Virginia Tech Honors Residential College, a new living-learning community for interdisciplinary undergraduates on campus. As a fellow, I participate in various social and academic activities to promote a sense of community. Within BSE specifically, I have been faculty advisor for the department chapter of Alpha Epsilon, the national honor society for agricultural and biological engineers, since Fall 2010. I have a particularly strong interest in interdisciplinary teaching that crosses traditional science-humanities boundaries; as a doctoral student I was part of a team that developed, taught, and assessed a philosophy course on “Cheating Death”. Results from this assessment were published in College Teaching in early 2011.

Program Focus

Growth of human populations and accompanying increased urbanization often introduces new contaminants to the environment or creates new pathways of human exposure to existing risks while simultaneously creating an ever-increasing demand for high quality natural resources, particularly clean water. In order to promote development while preserving public health, it is necessary to identify potential threats and engineer solutions to minimize exposure and risk. The broad goals of my research group are to: 1) identify (detect, quantify) waterborne agents that pose a threat to public health; 2) characterize environmental transport pathways that may result in human exposure to these contaminants; and 3) assess the relative risks of specific contaminants in order to prioritize interventions (remediation). In keeping with these goals, specific research group projects include: detection of human and non-human markers of fecal contamination in private drinking water supplies; identification of correlations between demographic characteristics and drinking water contamination by E. coli and/or heavy metals in rural communities; development of a stochastic model to estimate human risk associated with indicator bacteria impaired watersheds; assessment of the proximity of state-identified water quality impairments in Central Appalachia to mining and agricultural landuses; and characterization of patterns of sediment and water contamination by pollutants of human health concern in Stroubles Creek.

Current Projects

  • Tracking antibiotic resistance from farm to fork
  • Understanding water scavenging in the Appalachian Coalfields
  • Identifying challenges to safe drinking water in urban vs rural  Virginia
  • Linking human health and well being with local measures of ecological integrity

Program Focus

Although I do not have an explicit extension appointment, I have developed a strong collaboration with Dr. Brian Benham’s Virginia Household Water Quality Program (VAHWQP), which seeks to provide low cost water quality testing and education on household system maintenance to Virginian families reliant on private drinking water supplies (i.e. wells, springs, and cisterns). Through this programming, homeowners with chronic water quality problems and few financial resources are introduced to the Southeast Rural community Assistance Project (SERCAP) which provides technical assistance, grants, and low interest loans to Virginian families to improve on-site water and wastewater systems.

Current Projects

  • Linking private household drinking water supplies and rural health in Virginia

Selected Recent Publications

(* undergraduate student, ** graduate student, *** post-doc)

  • Wind**, L., L. Krometis, C. Hession, C. Chen, P. Du, K. Jacobs, K. Xia, A. Pruden. 2018. Fate of Pirlimycin and Antibiotic-Resistant Fecal Coliforms in Field Plots Amended with Dairy Manure or Compost during Vegetable Cultivation. Journal of Environmental Quality 47(3): 436-444.
  • Waller, L., G. Evanylo, L. Krometis, M. Strickland, T. Wynn-Thompson, B. Badgley. 2018. Engineered and Environmental Controls of Microbial Denitrification in Established Bioretention Cells. Environmental Science and Technology 52: 5358-5366.
  • Liao***, H., E. Sarver, L. Krometis. 2018. Interactive effects of water quality, physical habitat, and watershed anthropogenic activities on stream ecosystem health. Water Research 130: 69-78.
  • Billian**, H., L. Krometis, C. Hagedorn, T Thompson. 2018. Movement of traditional fecal indicator bacteria and source-tracking targets through septic drainfields. Science of the Total Environment (610/611): 1467-1475.
  • Govenor**, H., L. Krometis, W. C. Hession. 2017. Invertebrate-Based Water Quality Impairments and Associated Stressors Identified through the US Clean Water Act. Environmental Management 60(4): 598-614.
  • Garner, E., R. Benitez, E. von Wagoner; R. Sawyer, E. Schaberg, W. C. Hession, L. Krometis, B. Badgley, A. Pruden. 2017. Stormwater loadings of antibiotic resistance genes in an urban stream. Water Research 123: 144-152.
  • Krometis, L., J. Gohlke, K. Kolivras, E. Satterwhite, S. Marmagas, L. Marr. 2017. Environmental Health Disparities in the Central Appalachian Region of the United States. Reviews on Environmental Health 32(3): 253-266.
  • Willard**, L., T. Thompson, L. Krometis, T. Neher, B. Badgley. 2017. Does it pay to be mature? Assessing the performance of a bioretention cell seven years post-construction. Journal of Environmental Engineering 143(9): 04017041.
  • Cantor**, J., L. Krometis, E. Sarver, N. Cook*, B. Badgley. 2017. Tracking the Downstream Impacts of Inadequate Sanitation in Central Appalachia. Journal of Water and Health 15(4): 580-590.
  • Chirwa, C. F. C., R. P. Hall, L. H. Krometis, E. Vance, A. Edwards, T. Guan, R. H. Holm. 2017. Pit latrine fecal sludge resistance using a dynamic cone penetrometer in low income areas in Mzuzu city, Malawi. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 14(87): doi:10.3390/ijerph14020087.
  • Smyntek, P, L. Krometis, R. Wagner, S. Carvajal, T. Thompson, and W. Strosnider. 2017. Passive biological treatment of mine water to reduce conductivity: Potential designs, challenges, and research needs. Journal of Environmental Quality 46: 1-9.
  • Pieper**, K., L. Krometis, D. Gallagher, B. Benham. 2016. Simultaneous influence of geology and system design on drinking water quality in private systems. Journal of Environmental Health 79(2): S1-S8.
  • Pieper**, K., L. Krometis, M. Edwards. 2016. Quantifying lead leaching potential from plumbing exposed to aggressive waters. Journal of the American Water Works Association 108(9): DOI: 10.5942/jawwa.2016.108.0125.
  • Liao**, H., L. Krometis, K. Kline. 2016. Coupling a continuous watershed-scale microbial fate and transport model with a stochastic dose-response model to estimate risk of illness in an urban watershed. Science of the Total Environment (551/552): 668-675.
  • Benham, B., E. Ling, P. Zeigler, and L. Krometis. 2016. What's in Your Water?: Critical Evolution of the Virginia Household Water Quality Program and Virginia Master Well Owner Network. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension 4(1): 123-138.
  • Pieper**, K., L. Krometis, D. Gallagher, B. Benham, M. Edwards. 2015. Profiling private water systems to identify patterns of waterborne lead exposure. Environmental Science and Technology 49(21): 12697-12704.
  • Liao**, H., L. Krometis, K. Kline, C. Hession. 2015. Long-term impacts of bacteria-sediment interactions in watershed-scale microbial fate and transport modeling. Journal of Environmental Quality 44(5): 1483-1490.
  • Cook**, N., E. Sarver, L. Krometis, J. Huang. 2015. Habitat and water quality as drivers of ecological system health in Central Appalachia. Ecological Engineering 84: 180-189.
  • Pieper**, K., L. Krometis, D. Gallagher, B. Benham, M. Edwards. 2015. Incidence of waterborne lead in private drinking water systems in Virginia. Journal of Water and Health 13(3): 897-908.
  • Liao**, H., L Krometis, C. Hession, R. Benitez, R. Sawyer, E. Schaeberg, E. von Wagoner, B. Badgley. 2015. Storm loadings of general and human-specific fecal indicators in an inland urban stream. Science of the Total Environment (530/531): 347-356.
  • Collins, E., J. A. Ogejo, L. H. Krometis. 2015. The effects of temperature and duration of pasteurization on pathogen inactivation in anaerobically digested separated liquid dairy manure. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A 50: 971-979.
  • Cook**, N., L. Krometis, E. Sarver, J. Huang. 2015. Inorganic constituents of conductivity in five Central Appalachian watersheds with mixed source-driven pollutants. Ecological Engineering 82: 175-183.
  • Cook**, N., E. Sarver, L. H. Krometis. 2015. Putting corporate social responsibility to work in mining communities. Resources 4:185-202.
  • Liao**, H., L. Krometis, C. Hession, L. House, K. Kline, B. Badgley. 2014. Hydrometeorological and physicochemical drivers of fecal indicator bacteria in urban stream bottom sediments. Journal of Environmental Quality 43: 2034-2043.
  • Smith**, T., L. H. Krometis, C. Hagedorn, B. Benham, A. H. Lawrence, E. Ling, P. Ziegler, S. W. Marmagas. 2014. Associations between fecal indicator bacteria prevalence and demographic data in private water supplies in Virginia.Journal of Water and Health. doi:10.2166/wh.2014.026.
  • Fahrenfeld, N., K. Knowlton, L. Krometis, W. C. Hession, K. Xia, E. Lipscomb, K. Libuit*, B. Green*, A. Pruden. 2014. Manure application's effect on levels of antibiotic resistance genes and their attenuation rates in soil: Field-scale mass balance approach. Environmental Science and Technology 48(5): 2643-2650.
  • Hathaway, J. M., L. H. Krometis, W. F. Hunt. 2014. Exploring Seasonality in E. coli/Fecal Coliform Ratios in Urban Watersheds. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering 140(4): 04014003

Selected Recent Funding

  • Evaluation of potential biological treatment design options to reduce conductivity in mine discharges, Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science (ARIES), $60,000, 8/15-6/16, Principal Investigator (co-PIs: W. Strosnider, R. Wagner, T. Thompson).
  • Effective Strategies for Mitigating Antibiotic Resistance, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), $2,250,000, 1/15-12/17, Co-Principal Investigator (PI: A. Pruden; Co-PIs: K. Knowlton, K. Xia, C. Hession, M. Ponder, T. Archibald, A. Vallotton).
  • Use of fecal source-tracking techniques in groundwater quality management to reduce waterborne disease outbreaks, VT-ICTAS, $119,528, 7/14-7/16, Principal Investigator (co-PI: C. Hagedorn).
  • Tazewell County Cancer Project, Tazewell County (Virginia) Board of Supervisors, $74,976, 7/14-7/15, Co-Principal Investigator (PI: K. Hosig, A. Smith; Co-PIs: S. Marmagas, J. Li, S. Wetzel).
  • StREAM Lab Examination of Critical Watershed Processes Governing Dissemination of Agricultural Sources of Antibiotic Resistance, VT-ICTAS, $74,863, 7/12-6/13, Co-Principal Investigator (PI: A. Pruden; Co-PIs: K. Xia, K. Knowlton, C. Hession, Z. Liu).
  • REU Site: Dynamics of Water and Societal Systems - An Interdisciplinary Research Program at the Virginia Tech StREAM Lab, National Science Foundation (NSF), $314,289, 3/12-3/15, Co-Principal Investigator (PI: W. C. Hession).
  • Assessment of Biological Water Quality Impairments in Central Appalachian Mining Communities, Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science (ARIES), $350,000, 10/11-6/15, Principal Investigator (co-PI: E. Sarver).
  • What's in Your Water? Linking Rural Health and Household Drinking Water Safety, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), $195,193, 8/11-7/12, Principal Investigator (co-PIs: B. Benham, P. Ziegler).