My career has followed two main directions,” says Dr. Hélène Baribeau, who developed
the new Water Quality workshop for CA-NV AWWA’s Water College. “The first is
applied research related to drinking water quality, treatment and distribution, including
disinfectants, disinfection by-products, biological treatment, water quality in distribution
systems, nitrification, and regulatory issues. The second is water, hygiene and sanitation in
low-income countries. My work in this area has allowed me to experience the spectrum of
humanitarian assistance, from development with Water For People to emergency relief with
Médecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).
“If I bridge everything I have done, it has always been focused on water quality, and when
we focus on water quality, it’s really for public health. Even here in the United States—all the
research that we’ve done has been to improve water quality and provide a better product.”
Between 2011-12, Baribeau served with Doctors Without Borders as Hygiene and Sanitation
Coordinator for the Haiti Mission. From 2008 to 2010 she served as Country Coordinator for
the Rwanda Program of Water for People. Her work in this country has included eight years as
Research Engineer with Corollo Engineers focusing on disinfection, biological treatment, nitrification
and regulatory issues. Before that she worked as a research microbiologist in the Water
Quality Laboratory at Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She is currently an independent
contractor and owner of Baribeau Environmental Engineering where she specializes in
water quality in distribution systems and continues to work on water-related issues in low-income
countries. She also serves on AWWA’s Committee on Distribution System Water Quality.
“Although water quantity is always important, the niche I have evolved for myself in developing
countries is in water quality. You can’t just provide water; you have to be sure it’s not
going to make people sick. Coming from a very highly technical environment here in the United
States, where I was looking at very small details in water distribution and water quality, I was literally
shocked at some of the contaminants people in these low-income countries didn’t recog-
Continued on next page 34
Likes New Format
To Tim Worley, CA-NV Executive Director
and Mike McGuire, Chair, Source Editorial
Advisory Committee: Just got and read
my Summer issue of Source and wanted to
express my positive reaction to the magazine
and the content. Good balance of people,
events, tech stuff and leg/reg. The color,
appearance and set-up are all excellent.
Please pass my congrats on to the Editor and
others who deserve them.
~ Chet Anderson
Editor’s Note: Chet is the former chair of
CA-NV AWWA’s Safe Drinking Water Act
Committee and established the column we now
call “Drips and Droplets.”
In the Summer issue of Source we got our
units mixed up (City of Davis Undertakes Cr-6
Biological Treatment Pilot Study), as several
careful readers pointed out to us. Total chromium
is regulated currently at the level of
micrograms per liter—a federal MCL of 100
μg/L and California MCL of 50 μg/L. The
draft California MCL for hexavalent chromium
or Cr-6 will also be measured in μg/L.
However, in several instances we mistakenly
used the abbreviation for milligrams per liter,
mg/L, which is 1000 times higher.
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Helénè Baribeau: Water Quality
in Developing Countries