Aaron Mead
Aaron M. Mead, Ph.D., P.E.
Managing Engineer
Environmental & Earth Sciences
Pasadena

Dr. Mead has over 20 years of experience solving a broad range of water-related engineering problems. He has expertise in water quality and water supply policy. His experience spans projects involving hydrodynamic, hydrologic, hydraulic, water quality, groundwater, and geomorphic analysis.

Dr. Mead has experience with a broad range of hydraulic, hydrologic, sediment transport, and water quality models, including HEC-RAS, SWMM, Visual Plumes, and DYNTOX. He has applied models to evaluate mixing and dilution of desalination and water recycling brine, wastewater treatment plant discharges, once-through cooling water used by power generation facilities, and industrial process water; flood hazards; wastewater treatment plant operations; water quality and supply challenges in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta; and conceptual designs for stormwater runoff facilities, multi-port diffusers, environmentally sensitive flood control channels, and multi-use creek and wetland restoration projects.

Dr. Mead’s policy expertise includes technical aspects of the Clean Water Act (CWA), California Water Quality Control Plans (Basin Plans), Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), the California Thermal Plan, the California Ocean Plan, and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). He has assisted wastewater dischargers, developers, and power plant operators to develop EIR documents for CEQA approval and to negotiate and meet the requirements of NPDES permits. Dr. Mead has also conducted assessments of the scientific bases of TMDLs for metals, PCBs, and chlorinated hydrocarbons, including the pesticides DDT, chlordane, and toxaphene, in surface water and sediment.

In addition to his engineering credentials, Dr. Mead has a Ph.D. in philosophy with a specialty in ethical theory. He has taught courses at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), UCLA, and Azusa Pacific University. He is interested in the role of values in water resource decision-making.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Philosophy, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 2015
  • M.A., Philosophy,, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 2009
  • M.A., Philosophy, California State University, Los Angeles, 2005
  • M.Div., Fuller Theological Seminary, 2005
  • M.S., Civil Engineering, Stanford University, 1995
  • B.S., Civil Engineering, Stanford University, 1994
  • Romani Fellowship, UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2013-2014

    Mellon Pre-Dissertation Fellowship, UCLA Graduate Division, 2012

    California Pre-Doctoral Scholarship, CSU system, 2006-2007

    Ryan & Jack O’Shaughnessy Prize, CSULA Department of Philosophy, 2007

    David Allan Hubbard Award, Fuller Theological Seminary, 2004

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Civil Engineer, California, #C59578

LANGUAGES

  • French
  • Spanish

Publications

Mead A. Deciding together: Collaborative decision modeling in sustainable groundwater management. Presentation to the Bay Area Water Works Association (BAWWA) General Membership Meeting, Hayward, CA, May 18, 2017.

Mead A. Decision Support modeling as a tool to address legal and stakeholder conflicts related to GSP development. Presentation at the American Groundwater Trust (AGT) Conference on California Groundwater Law, UC Hastings-College of Law, May 18, 2017.

Mead A. Decisions, decisions: Decision support modeling in groundwater sustainability planning. Presentation at the California Water and Environmental Modeling Forum (CWEMF) 2017 Annual Meeting, Folsom, CA, March 20, 2017.

Mead A, Paulsen S, Henrion M. Decision support modeling in groundwater sustainability planning. Exponent webinar, March 15, 2017.

Mead A, Paulsen S, Henrion M. Decision support modeling in groundwater sustainability planning. GRACast webinar for the Groundwater Resources Association of California (GRAC), March 8, 2017.

Mead AM, Paulsen SC, Seyfried R. Dealing with drought: Modeling the effects of California’s recent drought on a POTW discharge to the Sacramento River. Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation, WEFTEC 2016, New Orleans, pp. 3490-3513, September 2016.

Paulsen SC, List EJ, Kavanagh KB, Mead AM, Seyfried R, Nebozuk S. Dynamic modeling and field verification studies to determine water quality and effluent limits downstream of a POTW discharge to the Sacramento River, California. Proceedings, Water Environment Federation 2007; 12:5695–5721.

Mead A, Williams PB, Haltiner JP. Equilibrium channel geometry in a tidally influenced river reach. Proceedings of the American Water Resources Association International Conference on Riparian Ecology and Management in Multi-Land Use Watersheds, Portland, OR, pp. 71-76, August 2000.

Prior Experience

Various positions including Principal Engineer, Flow Science Incorporated, 2002–2016

Various positions including Associate, Philip Williams & Associates, Ltd. (now ESA PWA), 1995–2002

Technical Researcher, International Rivers Network (now International Rivers), 1996–1997

Academic Appointments

Lecturer in Philosophy, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, 2015–2016

Adjunct Professor, Azusa Pacific University, Department of Philosophy, 2014–2015

Various positions including Instructor, University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Philosophy, 2008–2014

Various positions including Instructor in Training, Fuller Theological Seminary, 2004–2005, 2013

Teaching Assistant, Stanford University, Department of Civil Engineering, 1994–1995

Project Experience

Surface Water Dilution Studies

Used the EPA’s Visual Plumes model to evaluate dilution for five discharge scenarios at the City of Oxnard’s (City’s) ocean diffuser near Ormond Beach, in support of the City’s plans to increase wastewater recycling at its Advanced Water Purification Facility (AWPF). Brine produced at the AWPF is discharged through the City’s diffuser, along with secondary treated wastewater. As part of the renewal process for the City’s NPDES permit, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board required a demonstration of the level of dilution expected under proposed future conditions. Simulations accounted for seasonal receiving water conditions.

Produced dilution study work plans for several power generating facilities in Southern California and Hawaii that use ocean water or groundwater for once-through cooling, as required by their NPDES permits. Work plans included three-dimensional hydrodynamic modeling and empirical methods based on field data to re-evaluate zones of initial dilution under reduced cooling water flow conditions resulting from facility repowering.

Managed updates of three-dimensional hydrodynamic dilution modeling of a cooling water discharge associated with a power generating facility in Southern California. Modeling update accounted for a future scenario in which discharge rates are reduced as part of a plan to phase out the use of once-through cooling water.

Developed a work plan required by the Hawaii Department of Health to conduct a dilution study for a wastewater treatment plant on the island of Oahu that discharges treated effluent to a coastal ocean mixing zone through a multi-port diffuser, as required by the plant’s NPDES permit. The work plan proposed a three-dimensional numerical modeling analysis of an area encompassing the mixing zone and the collection of one year of ocean current data to facilitate model setup and validation.

Managed and conducted multiple mixing and dilution studies of effluent discharge from a large wastewater treatment plant in California to support an EIR for a master plan, an EIR for a major plant upgrade, and the NPDES permitting process. Studies employed a three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model, a longitudinal dispersion model, the Delta Simulation Model II (DSM2), and DYNTOX to evaluate water quality effects immediately downstream of the diffuser and at far-field locations.

Managed and conducted dilution and water quality analyses for a proposed discharge of desalination brine to the ocean using EPA Visual Plumes and semi-empirical methods. Project work was conducted in support of an EIR evaluation.

Assisted with the design, implementation, and post-study analysis for two field tracer studies to evaluate mixing and dilution downstream of a small municipal wastewater treatment plant in California to support NPDES permitting and a Use Attainability Analysis (UAA) for the de-designation of drinking water and domestic supply uses.

Hydrodynamic, Hydrologic, Hydraulic and Sediment Transport Modeling

Managed analyses of a proposed dairy farm in Hawaii using EPA SWMM to evaluate irrigation practices, erosion, and water quality impacts.

Employed analytic methods, the hydraulic model HEC-RAS, and results of a pre-existing hydrologic modeling study to evaluate the potential for erosion and downstream transport of unconsolidated sediments from the bed of a shallow run-of-the-river lake in New Jersey. Evaluated the role of nutrients from wastewater discharges and watershed development in contributing to eutrophication, sedimentation, and metals contamination (primarily arsenic and lead).

Managed the use of DSM2 to simulate hydrodynamics and water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and evaluate the impacts of discharges of treated wastewater.

Employed DSM2 and a customized computer model to simulate discharge operations for a large wastewater treatment plant and to evaluate impacts to on-site storage volume requirements resulting from alternative management scenarios for a major proposed infrastructure project.

Oversaw hydrology, hydraulics, and sediment transport technical studies as part of the first phase of a Special Area Management Plan process for portions of two major watersheds in Orange County (176 square miles and 133 square miles, respectively), to facilitate environmentally sensitive development strategies in the watersheds.

Managed and conducted hydrologic and geomorphic evaluations for the development of a Master Plan for a Southern California park in an active flood and debris basin behind a flood control dam, in a semi-arid alluvial fan area. Modeled flood hazards and sediment transport in the system using MIKE-11, a 1-dimensional unsteady hydraulic model. Produced flood maps showing the extent of inundation for the 2-year, 10-year, and 50-year flood events, quantified sediment delivery to the site in support of a comprehensive sediment management plan, and advised client on preferred locations for groundwater recharge ponds and the feasibility of a recreational water feature.

Managed the design and implementation of a comprehensive multi-objective project to enhance brackish marsh areas in a San Francisco Bay Area park and expand channel capacity along an approximately 1-mile reach of a flood-prone creek that included highly constrained reaches in a downtown area. Creek expansion included a 100-foot flood-plain/marsh-plain terrace adjacent to the main creek channel to provide capacity for the 100-year peak flow through most areas and increase the habitat value of the riparian corridor. Used HEC-RAS to model the hydraulics of the system and bio-technical methods to stabilize eroding creek channel banks. Marsh enhancement in the park included expansion of the existing slough channel network and lowering of filled areas to increase tidal circulation. The project was constructed.

Evaluated the hydrologic impacts of a proposed development on the San Mateo County coast, designed a stormwater management pond to help mitigate local increases in runoff volume and stormwater pollutants, and presented and defended the hydrologic analysis through a controversial public review process.

Designed a conceptual wetland layout and perimeter levee cross-section for the restoration of a subsided military airfield to tidal wetlands in the San Francisco Bay Area. Evaluated wind-wave generation and run-up for the levee design, internal peninsula layout, sedimentation rate, and slough channel sizing for the wetland layout. Used DIVAST, a two-dimensional numerical model of tidal flow and cohesive sediment transport, to simulate the first month of site evolution after opening to tidal action.

Applied principles of fluvial geomorphology and tidal hydraulic geometry to develop an alternative flood-management channel design for a river in the northern San Francisco Bay Area using the hydraulic model MIKE-11.

Used HEC-6 to evaluate potential long-term trends of scour and deposition for a river in the San Francisco Bay Area, related to three proposed flood-control options being considered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Flood Analysis

Assessed the cause of flooding at a residential property in the San Francisco Bay Area on behalf of county government responsible for portions of the storm drain network.

Assessed the cause and responsibility for flood damage at a residential property adjacent to property owned by a major utility company, including the role of upstream drainage ditches and a city-owned detention basin.

Water Quality Analysis


Managed and conducted technical work for a comprehensive analysis of groundwater, subsurface soils, storm water data, hazardous waste handling procedures, historic photographs, prior land-use, and PAH source fingerprints in support of the legal process and allocation determinations for a large international company with a facility at a port adjacent to a major Superfund site.

Managed and conducted a nutrient source study for a small power generating facility on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Used receiving water data, cooling water effluent discharge data, groundwater measurements, and watershed land-use information to determine the degree to which nutrient contributions from cooling water are responsible for exceedances of nutrient water quality criteria at the edge of the facility’s coastal ocean mixing zone.

Managed and conducted technical work to address excess algae in a Southern California lagoon. Recommended alternative strategies to improve water quality and enhance wetland habitat in the lagoon. The recommended strategy of increased tidal flushing was adopted.

Water Quality Policy Review

Managed the development of technical comment letters on proposed revisions to the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries of California to incorporate tribal and subsistence fishing beneficial uses and water quality objectives for mercury, including evaluations of existing technology and the primary sources of mercury to the State’s water bodies and fish.

Conducted technical research and analysis of historical trends in DDT, chlordane, toxaphene, and PCB concentrations in surface water, sediment, and fish tissue in a Southern California Bay to support revisions to organochlorine TMDLs for the water body.

NPDES Permitting

Assisted a major utility in negotiations with a California Regional Water Quality Control Board related to new total residual chlorine requirements in the NPDES permit for a major power generating facility that discharges once-through cooling water.

Drafted proposed NPDES permit terms for a wastewater treatment plant that disposes of treated effluent via injection to groundwater, which eventually reaches the ocean as a subsurface groundwater discharge, after a Court ruling required an NPDES permit for the discharge.

Groundwater Resource Management

Analyzed the timescale for a groundwater mound under a proposed stormwater infiltration facility in Southern California to return to equilibrium conditions using MODFLOW to evaluate a range of antecedent conditions and hydraulic conductivity values.

Wetland Restoration

Assisted with the finalization of the design for a high profile 20-acre tidal wetland restoration in the San Francisco Bay Area as part of an overall park restoration design. Evaluated inlet and shoreline stability, wetland sedimentation rates, and site soil characteristics. The wetland restoration project was constructed.

Produced a conceptual freshwater wetland design for a property in the northern San Francisco Bay Area allowing for both shallow ponded habitat for winter shorebird foraging and continued agricultural use on portions of the site. Design included several culverts and flow control structures to allow rapid drainage during flood events and seasonal alteration of water levels in habitat areas.

Knowledge

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Philosophy, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 2015
  • M.A., Philosophy,, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 2009
  • M.A., Philosophy, California State University, Los Angeles, 2005
  • M.Div., Fuller Theological Seminary, 2005
  • M.S., Civil Engineering, Stanford University, 1995
  • B.S., Civil Engineering, Stanford University, 1994
  • Romani Fellowship, UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2013-2014

    Mellon Pre-Dissertation Fellowship, UCLA Graduate Division, 2012

    California Pre-Doctoral Scholarship, CSU system, 2006-2007

    Ryan & Jack O’Shaughnessy Prize, CSULA Department of Philosophy, 2007

    David Allan Hubbard Award, Fuller Theological Seminary, 2004

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Civil Engineer, California, #C59578

LANGUAGES

  • French
  • Spanish