The U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research are Service to America Medals award finalists Source information provided by Service to America Medals Organization.
The U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research and William van der Schalie and the Environmental Sentinel Biomonitor Team were finalists for the Sammies, an award sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit organization that focuses on issues affecting federal workers.
The team's mission was to develop an innovative way to detect chemical contamination of drinking water supplies and keep millions of Americans safe in large metropolitan areas.
To help fight this serious public health threat, they have joined forces with an uncommon ally: fish.
In a process that combines both science and the wonders of nature, the researchers are using bluegill as indicators of water toxicity levels. Originally developed for use by the military, the system has been commercialized and is now being used to protect some large city water supplies from dangerous pollutants and the possibility of foul play.
Lt. Colonel Andrea Stahl attributes the success of van der Schalie's team to a long-term approach.
"They have a commitment to addressing these issues over time, and their persistence has made a tremendous difference. Much of their success is due to the leadership of Dr. van der Schalie," said Stahl. "He is the model federal employee. He's incredibly hard working, is organized and plans well across his team. You couldn't ask for a better employee."