Summer 2023 Wrap Up!

Check out what we've been up to and upcoming events!


Is it cliché to point out how quickly this year has flown by? I was honored to be elected Vice Chair in February 2023 and the last six months have slipped by like a moment in time. But in truth, it was never mine. This time has belonged to the members of SWEP Three Rivers and it has been a great time for us to expand our network, create engaging and meaningful events, and continue building relationships with the women who have made this such a prominent organization in this region. Almost a year ago, I spent a fun filled weekend at Camp Soles getting to know some fantastic women and reconnecting with a few I’ve known for years. We hiked, paddled canoes, and climbed a rock wall like we were kids at summer camp. As we sat around the campfire and stargazed from the dock on the lake, I knew this was a special group. Since that time, we have executed a top tier technical symposium with the foremost local experts on PFAS (with the help and support of the A&WMA Allegheny Mountain Section), raised funds again for Dress for Success, and finally toured the innovative Etna EcoDistrict.

If you haven’t been able to join us for these events, you can catch up on them in this newsletter and hopefully join us for our fall lineup. I look forward to exploring the ALCOSAN Open House in September, returning to Camp Soles in October, continuing our signature “Conversation With” series in November with the Allegheny County Parks Foundation, and creating holiday wreaths in December. I truly appreciate all the hard work the Board members have put into these events and hope to connect with more of you over the next several months. The women I meet in SWEP are busy with their careers, families, and communities but still find the time and energy to maintain our professional network and find innovative ways to foster the environmental community in Pittsburgh. In SWEP, I hope you also find meaningful relationships and engaging opportunities to learn and grow professionally. Cheers to the final days of summer and I will see you in the fall!

Amanda McNally,

Vice Chair


PFAS Symposium

Co-Hosted with SWEP and A&WMA

SWEP and A&WMA hosted a half-day per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) symposium in April where attendees were able to learn and discuss the common dangers of PFAS and discuss regulatory perspective, approaches for correct use, and proper treatment of PFAS contamination in the environment.

Thank you to all who attended and the planning committee for pulling together a successful and educational event! 

Do you have an idea for the topic of our next symposium?

Reach out to our program committee!

Image courtesy of Riverside Public Utilities

Earth Day Tree Planting

with Friends of the Riverfront

On Earth Day this year, SWEP members attending an Earth Day Tree Planting hosted by Friends of the Riverfront. As a part of the event, attendees cleared knotweed, planted trees along the Monongahela riverfront and attended other Earth Day activities as a part of the event.

Did you know?

Our Public Service committee puts together a calendar of environmentally-focused volunteer opportunities each month? Check them out on our website.

Girls Adventure Week

at Camp Soles

We performed the ‘earthquake test’ with over 50 girls aged 7-12 during the Camp Soles Girls Adventure Week.

The girls learned about what makes a strong and weak structural foundation, how it needs to be designed for the conditions and how everything interacts with our environment. We had them be their own foundation as well as build structures to test on jello, graham cracker crusts and rice and performed an ‘earthquake’ on each. All groups - 7 total - built structures that survived the earthquake on all three surfaces!

A great day of combining education and community!

Annual Charity Fundraiser

benefiting Dress for Success

We got together in July at Threadbare Cider House to support Dress for Success! 

We had 12 baskets in our basket raffle and ended up raising over $2,000 for Dress for Success so that they can continue to empower women to achieve economic independence through support, professional attire and development tools!


ALCOSAN Open House

September 16, 2023 | 9a - 4p


Every year, visitors flock to the plant to take part in hands-on activities, tours, and exhibits that showcase the amazing work of ALCOSAN and its wastewater treatment processes.

Every year, SWEP hosts a table with an interactive and educational activity.

If you'd be interested in volunteering with SWEP, reach out to our Public Service Committee!

Weekend Getaway at Camp Soles

October 20 - October 22, 2023

@ Camp Soles

SWEP is returning to the Laurel Highlands this fall for our Camp Soles Getaway! Camp Soles is a 200+ acre facility, recognized by many as one of the most beautiful camps in North America. Registration for 2023 is now open!

What’s included? Camp Soles provides heated rustic cabins with restrooms and shower access. Your registration fee includes 2 nights lodging, 4 chef-prepared meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday) served in their picturesque lodge overlooking Triss Lake.

The Camp provides 2 hours of activities with certified staff such as canoeing or scaling the climbing wall plus other non-supervised activities such as hiking, yoga, arts and crafts, or simply relaxing. Last year, we loved our time at the campfire enjoying each other's company, s'mores, mountain pies, and cozy beverages. Not to mention, mentorship and sisterhood.

Register now through September 6th to receive an early bird discount of $50. You won’t want to miss this one!

Learn more about Camp Soles here.

Early Bird pricing available through September 6: $95

General Registration: $145




The Inside Scoop on PFAS

Geosyntec is a specialized consulting and engineering firm that is on the cutting edge of PFAS research, remediation, and outreach. But what exactly are PFAS? Often referred to as the “Forever Chemicals”, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manmade, resilient, organic compounds consisting of thousands of species that are of increasing importance as environmental contaminants. PFAS have been in use since the late 1930s, with numerous applications around the globe including food packaging, non-stick coatings, stain repellants, and certain classes of fire-fighting foams. Although they have been used extensively through the years, PFAS have become emerging contaminants of concern due to their bioaccumulative properties and suspected toxic effects at low concentrations in humans and wildlife. Locations suspected to be the most affected by PFAS include heavy industrial or manufacturing areas and properties adjacent to military installations or airports.

If you suspect you have a PFAS problem, now is the time to take a closer look. The United States EPA expects to finalize drinking water limits for PFAS by the end of 2023. Geosyntec aims to help our clients navigate the ever-changing world of PFAS. It is essential that knowledgeable practitioners, who fundamentally understand the limitations and challenges associated with PFAS, are responsible for directing investigations and remediation efforts to achieve risk mitigation at PFAS sites. In the greater Pittsburgh area, Geosyntec has PFAS professionals ready to provide innovative and responsible solutions for tackling PFAS, including site assessments, remedial designs, and maintaining compliance with environmental regulations.

Geosyntec has been an integral supporter of the SWEP Three Rivers Chapter over the years and is proud to hold the title of Diamond Sponsor for 2023. Recently, SWEP has increased its PFAS outreach and education to include member-led informational sessions and symposiums. The mission of SWEP to continuously provide learning opportunities and spread awareness of emerging environmental concerns is a key principle shared by Geosyntec practitioners. We look forward to a continuing relationship with SWEP Three Rivers and the continued opportunity to meet its members and fellow supporters. Connect with us via our website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Geosyntec also publishes a monthly PFAS newsletter focused on upcoming PFAS regulations, policies, and case studies. Subscribe to the newsletter at

Kaylin McDermett, Ph.D.

PFAS Professional with Geosyntec Pittsburgh

Society of Women Environmental Professionals
Three Rivers Chapter

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Thank you to our annual sponsors!