Dr. Leigh-Anne Krometis

Biological Systems Engineering

The growth of human populations and accompanying increased urbanization often introduces new contaminants to the environment or creates new pathways of human exposure to existing risks; simultaneously, growing populations create an ever-increasing demand for high quality natural resources, particularly clean water. In order to promote development while preserving public health, it is necessary to identify potential threats and engineer solutions to minimize exposure and risk. The broad goals of the Krometis research group are therefore to: identify emerging waterborne agents that pose a threat to public health; characterize environmental transport pathways that may result in human exposure to these contaminants; and assess the relative risks of specific contaminants in order to prioritize interventions.


Ongoing projects include quantifying the accumulation and re-suspension of pathogenic microorganisms in urban stream sediments, characterizing patterns of human exposure to waterborne contaminants in rural drinking supplies, and a comparison of the effects of inadequate sanitation discharges and mountaintop removal mining on benthic macro-invertebrate communities in Appalachian streams.

In addition to her interests in water and human/eco-health, Dr. Krometis is interested in the development of interdisciplinary education opportunities, particularly those that aspire to transcend the traditional science-humanities barrier. She currently serves as the co-Director of a unique NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, “Dynamics of Water and Societal Systems” which aims to engage rising juniors and seniors from colleges around the country in truly integrative team-research each summer at the Virginia Tech StREAM Lab in Blacksburg.

After joining Virginia Tech, Dr. Krometis spent three semesters as an Engineering Exploration instructor in the Engineering Education department, which serves all first-year engineering students. She currently regularly teaches a junior-level course on Nonpoint Source Pollution Assessment and Control and a graduate course on Advanced Topics in Watershed Management for the Biological Systems Engineering department. Dr. Krometis is also very involved in the University Honors Program, and serves as a senior fellow in the new Residential Honors College  initiative.


Lab Website

Recent Relevant Publications

Krometis, L., H. PattonG, A. WozniakU, and E. Sarver. 2019. Water scavenging from roadside springs in Appalachia. Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education 166: 46-56

FoglerG, K., G. GuronP, L. WindG, I. KeenumG, W. C. Hession, L. Krometis, L. Strawn, M. Ponder, A. Pruden. 2019. Microbiota and Antibiotic Resistome of Lettuce Leaves and Radishes Grown in Soils Receiving Manure-Based Amendments Derived from Antibiotic-Treated Cows. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2019.00022

MarcilloG, C. and L. Krometis. 2019. Small towns, big challenges: Does Rurality Influence Safe Drinking Water Act Compliance? AWWA Water Science https://doi.org/10.1002/aws2.1120

GovenorG, H., L. Krometis, C. Hession, L. Willis, P. Angermeier. 2019. Macroinvertebrate Sensitivity Thresholds for Sediment in Virginia Streams. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 15(1): 77-92.

WallerL, B Badgley, G Evanylo, L. Krometis, M Strickland, T Thompson. 2018. Engineered and environmental controls of microbial denitrification in mature bioretention cells. Environmental Science and Technology (Accepted, in press, April 2018).

WindL, L Krometis, C Hession, C Chen, P Du, K JacobsG, K Xia, A Pruden. 2018. Fate of Pirlimycin and Antibiotic-Resistant Fecal Coliforms in Field Plots Amended with Dairy Manure or Compost during Vegetable Cultivation. Journal of Environmental Quality (Accepted, in press, March 2018).

LiaoH, E Sarver, L Krometis. 2018. Interactive effects of water quality, physical habitat, and watershed anthropogenic activities on stream ecosystem health. Water Research 130:69-78.

BillianH, L Krometis, C Hagedorn, T Thompson. 2018. Movement of traditional fecal indicator bacteria and source-tracking targets through septic drainfields. Science of the Total Environment (610/611):1467-1475.

GovenorH, L Krometis, WC Hession. 2017. Invertebrate-Based Water Quality Impairments and Associated Stressors Identified through the US Clean Water Act. Environmental Management 60(4):598-614.

GarnerE, R BenitezU, E von WagonerU, R SawyerU, E SchabergU, WC Hession, L Krometis, B Badgley, A Pruden. 2017. Stormwater loadings of antibiotic resistance genes in an urban stream. Water Research 123:144-152.

Krometis L, J Gohlke, K Kolivras, E Satterwhite, S Marmagas, L Marr. 2017. Environmental Health Disparities in the Central Appalachian Region of the United States. Reviews on Environmental Health 32(3):253-266.

CantorGJ, L Krometis, E Sarver, N Cook*, B Badgley. 2017. Tracking the Downstream Impacts of Inadequate Sanitation in Central Appalachia. Journal of Water and Health 15(4):580-590.

Chirwa CFC, RP Hall, LH Krometis, E Vance, A Edwards, T Guan, RH Holm. 2017. Pit latrine fecal sludge resistance using a dynamic cone penetrometer in low income areas in Mzuzu city, Malawi. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health14(87). doi:10.3390/ijerph14020087.

Smyntek P, R Wagner, L Krometis, S Carvajal, T Thompson, W Strosnider. 2017. Passive biological treatment of mine water to reduce conductivity: Potential designs, challenges, and research needs. Journal of Environmental Quality, 46:1-9.