header-images-6

SPEAKERS & SESSIONS

RegisterMonday Schedule

Tuesday Schedule

Meet the Speaker: 
Julie Korak

Session: Proactive Planning at the Core of Asset Management: Lessons learned from the water treatment industry

 

SESSION

Julie Korak, Ph.D., P.E, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder

Julie Korak, Ph.D., P.E. is a water treatment engineer focusing on drinking water, industrial water, and water reuse for diverse applications. Her passion is developing holistic water treatment processes from the fundamental chemistry to long term infrastructure management. Drinking water treatment plants and the network of distribution systems supplying consumers collectively represent one of the US’s largest public infrastructure assets. Implementing resilient treatment operations and maintaining the integrity of aging infrastructure require both the proactive planning for deliberate or unplanned (e.g., natural disaster) system changes and effective system monitoring strategies for real-time decision making. Her research focuses on this theme through system level assessments for long term planning initiatives (e.g., diversifying water source portfolios) and developing technical solutions for water treatment challenges.

Dr. Korak is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. Prior to academia, she worked in the Water Treatment Group at the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Department of the Interior in Denver, CO. At Reclamation, she conducted applied research and planning studies related to water treatment impacts in mining-impacted watersheds and corrosion control in drinking water distribution systems. She was a team member on a large drinking water infrastructure project connecting several dozen rural community water systems to two new centralized treatment plants with an extensive distribution network. Dr. Korak is a licensed Professional Engineer in Colorado and holds degrees in Chemical Engineering (B.S.), Environmental Engineering (B.S.), and Civil (Environmental) Engineering (M.S. and Ph.D.) from the University of Colorado Boulder.

 

SESSION

Proactive Planning at the Core of Asset Management: Lessons learned from the water treatment industry

Julie Korak, Ph.D., P.E, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder

Drinking water treatment plants and the network of distribution systems supplying consumers collectively represent one of the US’s largest public infrastructure assets. Distribution systems pose a unique challenge with respect to asset management. Physical infrastructure is distributed spatially, system operation depends on fluctuating customer demand, and real-time data collection of performance is limited. In addition, water scarcity, growing populations, and stricter regulations push community water systems to adapt in ways that challenge systems often constructed decades earlier.

For drinking water systems, loss of system integrity compromises human health and leads to lasting public distrust. This presentation explores failures in the drinking water industry and how holistic asset management is necessary to prevent future incidents. In many cases, a primary contributing factor was not a technical failure but an organizational weakness. In the most severe cases, long term planning decisions without proactive implementation or contingency plans laid the foundation for future incidents. In other cases, institutional frameworks without robust and redundant operating procedures have failed to recognize key indicators of an approaching incident, including critical feedback from customers. In all, maintaining integrity of drinking water infrastructure begins with an organizational framework that promotes proactive planning and interdisciplinary communication.

 

[Back to top]