Civil and Environmental Engineering

Contact Information

Kaven Hall, 106
Phone: +1-508-831-5142
Fax: +1-508-831-5808

Jeanine D. Plummer

My teaching and research interests focus on water quality and the safety of drinking waters. I study water from source to tap: where do contaminants originate from, what is their fate in the environment, and how do we engineer treatment processes to protect public health? I am particularly interested in preventing the transmission of pathogens through water. In source waters, I aim to identify sources of pollution and understand the fate, transport, and survival of pathogens in the environment. We are currently developing new tools focused on identifying viral pathogen risk in waters. On the treatment side, I have focused most recently on alternative disinfection strategies that inactivate microorganisms while also reducing the formation of potentially harmful disinfection byproducts.

At WPI, I work with undergraduate and graduate students to explore water quality issues through classroom activities, project work in the field and laboratory, and funded research. I also work to improve water and sanitation options around the globe. I’ve recently had students working in Ghana to develop a better understanding of disease transmission through waters and ways to improve public health initiatives, and in South Africa to overcome obstacles to the provision of water and sanitation in impoverished communities. Collectively, we can work toward a goal of providing safe water to people in the U.S. and globally.

Research Interests

  • Source Water Protection
  • Fecal Source Tracking
  • Drinking Water Treatment
  • Sanitation in Developing Countries


  • BS, Cornell University, 1993
  • MS, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 1995
  • PhD, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 1999

Featured Publications

  • Long, S.C.; Stietz, J.R.; Olstadt, J.; Hedman, C.J.; and Plummer, J.D. 2012. “Characterization of Paper Mill Effluent Using Indicators and Source Tracking Methods,” Journal of the American Water Works Association, 104(3): online.
  • Bloetscher, F. and Plummer, J.D. 2011. “Evaluating the Significance of Certain Pharmaceuticals and Emerging Pathogens in Raw Water Supplies,” Environmental Practice, 13:198–215.
  • Kosinski, K.; Bosompem, K.M.; Stadecker, M.J.; Wagner, A.D.; Plummer, J.D.; Durant, J.L.; and Gute, D.M. 2011. “Diagnostic Accuracy of Urine Filtration and Dipstick Tests for Schistosoma Haematobium Infection in a Lightly Infected Population of Ghanian Schoolchildren,” Acta Tropica, 118: 123-127.
  • Plummer, J.D. and Long, S.C. 2009. “Identifying Sources of Surface Water Pollution: A Toolbox Approach,” Journal of the American Water Works Association, 101(9): 75-88.
  • Griffin, J.S.; Plummer, J.D.; and Long, S.C. 2008. “Torque Teno Virus: An Improved Indicator for Viral Pathogens in Drinking Waters,” Virology Journal, 5: 112.

Professional Highlights

  • McGraw-Hill/AEESP Award for Outstanding Teaching in Environmental Engineering and Science (2010)
  • Water Resources Sustainability Division Best Paper Award, AWWA (2009)
  • Professor of the Year for Massachusetts, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (2008)
  • WPI Board of Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Teaching (2006)
  • WPI Board of Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Advising (2005)
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