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Leigh-Anne Krometis

  • Turner Faculty Fellow
  • Research areas: Public health; waterborne disease; stormwater management


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


June 2024-present-Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech

August 2017 - June 2024 - 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

  • 2021 - Turner Faculty Fellow
  • 2020 - American Water Works Association (AWWA) 2020 Small Systems Publications Award (Marcillo and Krometis, 2019)
  • 2017 - American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) Wesley W Honor Paper Award (Willard et al., 2017)
  • 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 1984: Engineering Biological Systems for the Global Good
  • 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

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
  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 in rural wastewater systems
  • Characterizing PFAS contamination in private wells
  • Quantifying water quality challenges in the Appalachian Coalfields
  • Exploring the impacts of historic redlining practices on water infrastructure
  • Evaluating commercial POU filter effectiveness in metals removal from homes served by private wells
  • Delivering effective remote K-12 STEM education opportunities

Program Focus

Although I do not have an explicit extension appointment, I have developed a strong collaboration with Dr. Brian Benham and Erin Ling’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

  • Characterizing PFAS contamination in private wells
  • Evaluating commercial POU filter effectiveness in metals removal from homes served by private wells

Selected Recent Publications

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

  • Wind**, L., I. Keenum, S. Gupta, P. Ray, K. Knowlton, M. Ponder, W. C. Hession, A. Pruden, L. Krometis (accepted, June 2021). Integrated Metagenomic Assessment of Multiple Pre-harvest Control Points on Lettuce Resistomes at Field-Scale. Frontiers in Microbiology.
  • Govenor**, H., C. Hession, T. Keys, N. Jones, R. Stewart, L. Krometis. 2021. Evaluating rare earth elements as tracers of fluvial processes: Fine sediment transport and and deposition in a small stream. Transactions of the ASABE. 64(3): 905-918.
  • DeVilbiss, S., M. Steele, L. Krometis, B. Badgley. 2021. Freshwater salinization increases survival of Escherichia coli and risk of bacterial impairment. Water Research. 191: 116812 .
  • Wind**, L., L. Krometis, C. Hession, A. Pruden. 2021. Cross-comparison of methods for quantifying antibiotic resistance in agricultural soils amended with dairy manure and compost. Science of the Total Environment . 766: 144321.
  • Maxcy-Brown, J., M. A. Elliott, L. Krometis, K. D. White, J. Brown, U. Lall. 2021. Right in Our Backyard: Untreated Wastewater Discharges from Rural Homes in the United States. Water Research. 190: 116647.
  • Angermeier, P., L. Krometis, M. Stern, T. Hemby. 2021. Exploring relationships among stream health, human well-being, and demographics in Virginia. Ecological Indicators 121: 107194.
  • Patton**, H., L. Krometis, E. Sarver. 2020. Springing for safe water: Drinking water quality and source selection in Central Appalachian communities Water. 12(3), 888;
  • Marcillo**, C., G. Garcia Prado, N. N. Copeland, L. Krometis. 2020. Drinking water quality and consumer perceptions of contamination at the point-of-use in San Rafael Las Flores, Guatemala. Water Practice and Technology 15 (2): 374–385
  • Marcillo**, C. and L. Krometis. Small Towns, Big Challenges: Does Rurality Influence Safe Drinking Water Act Compliance? 2019. AWWA Water Science 1(1): e1120. (AWWA Small Systems Publications Award Winner)
  • Krometis, L., H. Patton**, A. Wozniak*, E. Sarver. 2019. Water scavenging from roadside springs in Appalachia. Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education. 166(1): 46-56.
  • Jacobs**, J., L. Wind**, L. Krometis, C. Hession, A. Pruden. 2019. Fecal Indicator Bacteria and Antibiotic Resistance Genes in StormRunoff from Dairy Manure and Compost-Amended Vegetable Plots. Journal of Environmental Quality. 48:1038–1046
  • Fogler, K., G. Guron, L. Wind**, I. Keenum, W. C. Hession, L. Krometis, L. Strawn, M. Ponder, A. Pruden. 2019. Microbiota and Antibiotic Resistome of Lettuce Leaves and Radishes Grown in Soils Receiving Manure-Based Amendments Derived from Antibiotic-Treated Cows. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. 3(22): 1-17
  • Govenor**, H., L. Krometis, C. Hession, L. Willis, P. Angermeier. 2019. Macroinvertebrate Sensitivity Thresholds for Sediment in Virginia Streams. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management. 15(1): 77-92.
  • Sherry, J., L. Juran, K. Kolivras, L. Krometis, E. Ling 2018. Perceptions of existing water services and proposed innovations to improve water services in rural and urban Tanzania. Public Works Management and Policy
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. doi: 10.1007/s00267-017-0907-3.
  • 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. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2017-0012.
  • 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.
  • 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 (ASCE Wesley W. Horner Paper Award Winner)

Selected Recent Funding

  • 2022-2024. USGS. Characterizing prevalence and risk factors of PFAS in rural private water supplies. $250,000 (PI)
  • 2021-2026. NSF. Convergence at the Interfaces of Policy, Data Science, Environmental Science and Engineering to Combat the Spread of Antibiotic Resistance. $3,000,000 (co-PI)
  • 2020-2023. Virginia Environmental Endowment (VEE). Identifying key challenges in maintaining water quality for households dependent on private water supplies in Southwest Virginia. $97,731 (PI)
  • 2020-2021. VT Pandemic Rapid Response Grant. Best practices to support K-12 STEM remote learning in underserved communities. $34,192. (PI)
  • 2018-2020. Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). A Program Evaluation of ARC’s Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Projects, FY 2009 - FY 2016. $250,000 (co-PI; joint proposal – VT PI)
  • 2017-2019. NIH. Spatiotemporal analysis of adverse birth outcomes in Central Appalachia. $426,177 (co-PI)
  • 2017-2021. USDA. Research and Extension Experience for Undergraduates: Place-based training for performing and communicating interdisciplinary science at the crossroads of water and society. $278,911 (co-PI)
  • 2015-2017. USDA. Effective Strategies for Mitigating Antibiotic Resistance. $2,250,000 (co-PI)