Registration closes on February 20, 2013

U.S. Recreational Water Quality Criteria:
A Vision for the Future

Ala Moana Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii

March 11-13, 2013

Sponsored by:

Water Resources Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa

    Conference Chair: Marek Kirs (University of Hawaii)

    Conference Organizers: Chittaranjan Ray, Roger Fujioka (University of Hawaii)

    Conference Planning and Leadership Committee:

    • Roger Fujioka (University of Hawaii)
    • Marek Kirs (University of Hawaii)
    • Muruleedhara Byappanahalli (U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center)
    • Alexandria Boehm (Stanford University)
    • Helena Solo-Gabriele (University of Miami)

    Click here to see the lineup of invited speakers

Conference Motivation

U.S. recreational water quality criteria (RWQC) are needed to protect the public health of people who swim and bathe in designated beaches. However, advances in microbiology, environmental science and engineering, and epidemiology, as well as progress in monitoring programs in the last decades have called into question the scientific credibility of the RWQC. Hence in 2000, the U.S. Congress (the Clean Water Act as amended by the BEACH Act) mandated USEPA to conduct studies concerning pathogen indicators in recreational waters and to review the criteria. USEPA responded with several epidemiological studies, as well as organized a series of scientific and stakeholder workshops to learn about relevant issues to be considered in the development of new or revised criteria.

In December 2011, USEPA published a draft of the proposed recreational water quality criteria. This draft document indicated that the revised RWQC would not differ substantially from the previous recreational water quality criteria published in 1986. However, a significant change in this document was the publication of new guidelines that will allow individual states to use alternative methods for monitoring water quality, and opportunities to implement state specific water quality standards. The effectiveness of these new guidelines has not been tested at the state level. Moreover, during the planning of this conference, USEPA had not yet published the guidelines for alternative methods and standards nor finalized the proposed criteria; hence the specifics of implementation strategies as well as incentives to develop and adapt alternative standards have remained unclear so far. For these reasons, science-based assessment of RWQC and discussion on how new science can be used to take advantage of the flexibilities alluded to in the new RWQC are needed. Furthermore, as the BEACH Act requires RWQC reviewed at least once every five years, it is timely to identify current research needs and available opportunities.

Conference Goals

The conference focuses on the use of scientific method to achieve the following goals:

  1. Evaluate the methods and approaches which were used in developing and implementing new RWQC.
  2. Evaluate how newer methods and approaches can be used to establish site-specific criteria.
  3. Evaluate how published experimental methods can be used to determine health risk to swimmers and be applied to develop RWQC.

Conference Objectives

To achieve the goals listed, the following objectives were identified by the committee:

  1. The three specific themes to be discussed during the three-day conference were identified as follows:
    • Day 1: Scientific Assessment of Theory and Application of Recreational Water Quality Standards to Regions of the U.S.
    • Day 2: Scientific Assessment of USEPA Proposed Tools for States and Tribes to Develop Alternative RWQC on a Site-Specific Basis.
    • Day 3: Scientific Assessment of Experimental Methods and Approaches to Improve or Revise Future RWQC.
    The subtopics that must be discussed by the speakers under each of the three themes were identified by the committee.

  1. Conference speakers were selected based on their acknowledged expertise on the topics chosen for this conference and their demonstrated use of scientific methods in water quality research and monitoring programs.

  2. The last session of each day is scheduled to be led by members of the planning and leadership committee for the purpose of summarizing the presentations, to integrate contributions from attendees, and to reach conclusions and recommendations, as well as visions for the future.



Authors are invited to submit abstracts for poster presentations. Due to space limitations, posters will be selected based on their relevance to the conference objectives or topics of the invited speakers.

All abstracts should include the title, authors’ names and affiliation, and clearly defined statement of research objectives, results, and conclusions sections. Abstract should be no longer than 300 words, single spaced, Times New Roman, 12 point font size. Microsoft Word is the preferred application. Authors must clearly indicate which of the conference themes (see Conference Objectives) they intend to present under.

  • Authors will be notified if their posters have been selected by February 16, 2013.
  • Maximum poster dimensions: 36-in. (w) by 42-in. (h)
  • Submit poster abstracts to Dr. Marek Kirs:


Scientists, government administrators and regulators, beach managers, stakeholders and other individuals, who are interested in learning about the many issues related to the application of U.S. recreational water quality criteria as well as the new tools that may be used to determine site specific criteria.


Ends February 20, 2013

  • Regular rate: $400
  • Student rate: $300

download the announcement, program, and registration form

download the speakers' information

Registration fees includes continental breakfast, lunch, and refreshments for each day; program and abstract booklet. Due to logistics, we have limited the number of attendees to 200.


Fax a copy of your registration form (download link above) if payment is by credit card or purchase order to Barbara Guieb at 808-956-5044

Payment Methods

Prior to Conference: MasterCard, Visa, Purchase Order, Check

On-site: MasterCard, Visa


  • Must be issued in U.S. dollars and drawn on a U.S. bank
  • Make check payable to: RCUH1002

Mail payment to:

RWQC Conference
University of Hawaii
2540 Dole Street, Holmes 283
Honolulu, HI 96822 USA
Attn: Barbara


Rooms will be available at the Ala Moana Hotel at a special conference rate ($139 Kona Tower and $159 Waikiki Tower).

Reservations can be made online at the hotel's dedicated website at:

If you prefer to make your reservations by phone call one of the following numbers and reference WRRC - Water Quality Conference or Group Code DQUALITY:

  • (800) 367-6025 (U.S. & Canada)
  • (800) 446-8990 (Neighbor Islands)
  • direct (808) 955-4811 - Group Reservations.