2021 Sage Project Showcase

Identification of High-Risk Dry Cleaning Sites 
in San Diego County


Welcome to the 2021 Sage Project Showcase!

Typically, at the end of the academic year, the Sage Project organizes an event to highlight all the work done by San Diego State University students as part of our partnership with a local community partner. However, due to COVID-related restrictions on gathering, no such event was organized for this year. Instead, we gave students the opportunity to present their excellent work virtually, right here!

For the 2020-2021 academic year, the Sage Project partnered with the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board to identify high-risk dry cleaning sites in San Diego County. Many thanks go to San Diego Water Board staff who led this partnership effort: the late John Anderson, Senior Engineering Geologist; Sarah Mearon, Senior Engineering Geologist; and Tom Alo, Water Resource Control Engineer.

In the following presentations, you can learn more about the Sage Project, the Water Board, our collaboration, and the project results presented by SDSU students who collectively dedicated hundreds of hours towards this partnership.


This project has been sponsored in part by a generous donation from the Contorer Foundation
We are grateful for their support!


Introductory presentations


Welcome Message from Jessica Barlow

Dr. Jessica Barlow, Director of the Sage Project and Executive Director of the Center for Regional Sustainability, provides words of welcome and an introduction to the partnership with the San Diego Water Board. Click on the image above or this link to watch the presentation.


Tom Alo Introduces the Dry Cleaner Project

Tom Alo, Water Resource Control Engineer for the San Diego Water Board, describes the need of the Water Board to develop the project and its importance for the improvement of quality of life in the San Diego Region. Click on the image above or this link to watch the presentation.


Student presentations

Students from participating classes describe the project's development in three stages: data collection, data validation process and, the spatial analysis and results.

Cheyenne Graves

Cheyenne Graves describes the creation of the database by ENV E 558 Solid and Hazardous Waste Engineering students. Click on the image above or this link to watch the presentation.


Jallene Pizarro

Jallene Pizarro, from PA 540 Community Mapping: Geographic Information Systems, presents the technical validation process for the database. Click on the image above or this link to watch the presentation.


Jessica Embury

Jessica Embury, from GEOG 499 Special Study and GEOG 584 Geographic Information Systems Applications, explains the spatial analysis process and general findings of the project. Click on the image above or this link to watch the presentation.


Watch the Playlist

You can also watch the entire 2021 Sage Project Water Board Showcase video playlist on the Center for Regional Sustainability YouTube page! Click on the image above or this link to watch the full playlist.


Campus Engagement

Participating classes included Christy Dykstra's ENV E 558 Solid and Hazardous Waste Engineering; Kristen Monteverde's GEOG 584 Geographic Information Systems Applications; Atsushi Nara's GEOG 499 Special Studies; and Madison Swayne's P A 540 Community Mapping: Geographic Information Systems. In total, 75 students, four different classes, and seven student interns participated in this project. Special thanks go to the student project managers: Cheyenne Graves (ENV E 558) and Jessica Embury (GEOG 584), and Jallene Pizarro (P A 540). The SDSU Library has been a key collaborator on this project, assisting with the digitization of tens of thousands of pages of records from the Water Board office that contributed to the site identification process. Thanks to Acting Assistant Dean Lisa Lamont, Dean Scott Walter, and to Digital Services Specialist Matt Ferrill, for all their help on this effort! 


Over 500 Dry Cleaning Sites Mapped!

Thanks to the efforts of all the participating students, faculty, and staff, we were able to map over 500 dry cleaning sites in San Diego County and identify those sites that pose the highest risk to underserved communities in the region. This will allow the Water Board to prioritize sites for cleaning and remediation efforts. Summary reports of this work are available from SDSUnbound, the University Library's digital archives of the Sage Project.

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