Oct 8, 2023
On October 8, 2023, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board presented the 2023 Teng-chung Wu Pollution Prevention Award to the Bay Area Pollution Prevention Group Pesticides Subcommittee. The award honors both the subcommittee and the staff who have led its activities. SFEI’s Dr. Kelly Moran helped found the subcommittee and led its work to prevent pesticides water pollution for more than a decade, turning over leadership to her associates Stephanie Hughes, and Tammy Qualls in 2021.
Since its inception, Dr. Moran and her colleagues have persistently worked to reduce the impact of pesticides to waters of the United States and subsequent regulatory impacts to municipal wastewater agencies. Because California law generally prevents these agencies from directly regulating the sale, use, and transfer of pesticides, the subcommittee focuses on filling scientific information gaps around urban pesticide use, regulatory advocacy such that pesticide regulators use existing authorities to protect water quality, and outreach to support user and industry awareness of the linkage between urban pesticide use and water pollution.
The subcommittee’s work, which entailed collaboration with the Water Board, local government agencies across California, NGOs, and scientific researchers encouraged California Department of Pesticide Regulation to develop and implement novel science-based methods in its regulatory programs that prevent registration of pesticides likely to pollute surface waters and inform mitigation strategies, such as those adopted by the agency for outdoor urban pyrethroids use. (See Moran et al. 2020 https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.4699) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and pesticide manufacturers and users have withdrawn a few polluting products from the market and modified allowable uses of other products to protect water quality.
According to the San Francisco Bay Water Board, Dr. Moran, Ms. Hughes, and Ms. Qualls “have advised and led the group for over a decade, fostering an environment of collaboration, curiosity, and problem-solving. They serve as generous sources of technical and scientific knowledge, who educate, inspire, and actively establish collaborative networks that improve water quality. Their tenacity has resulted in the kind of progress only possible through sustained effort.”
The San Francisco Bay Water Board established the Dr. Teng-chung Wu Pollution Prevention Award in 2007 to honor the legacy of Dr. Wu, who worked for many years at the Water Board and was an early visionary in pollution prevention. He believed the best way to keep the Bay clean was to keep pollutants from entering wastewater, rather than constructing expensive treatment works to remove them. The annual award in his name recognizes innovation, effectiveness, and collaboration in pollution prevention.