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Darrah Dunlap, MPH, LEHP

Water Quality Specialist, Illinois Department of Public Health, Plumbing and Water Quality Program

Darrah Dunlap Darrah Dunlap is responsible for leading environmental health investigations in response to outbreaks associated with opportunistic premise plumbing pathogens, primarily Legionnaires’ disease. Outside her role in investigations, she has been active in developing water quality response capacity and policies in the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Division of Environmental Health. She has a Bachelor of Science in biology from Western Illinois University and a Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Public Health and Public Water Systems: A Comprehensive Collaboration on Response and Prevention

Abstract: The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) collaborate extensively on developing and improving response and prevention strategies related to opportunistic premise plumbing pathogens addressing public water supplies and premise plumbing systems. IDPH’s Legionella Response Team often calls upon IEPA’s Bureau of Water to collect information and collaborate with public water system operators on water systems to quickly and efficiently gain an understanding of water quality entering facilities associated with clusters of Legionnaires’ disease. This collaboration extends to improving field assessments of water systems, support in the field during investigations, and understanding of water quality changes in premise plumbing pathogens through sharing of resources, information and expertise. This relationship has also expanded opportunities for state health officials to educate public water system operators on Legionella ecology in human-made water systems, preventative water management and communication practices that can support successful building water management teams, particularly in health care settings.