Smart Sewers/Note on Emerging Science
The effects of combined sewer overflow in West Haven, Connecticut. (Photo: Christopher Zurcher/CTEnvironmentalHeadlines.com)
Mechanized sewers may be the answer to storm overflow getting into nearby water bodies. Jessica Ilyse reports.
GELLERMAN: It’s Living on Earth. I’m Bruce Gellerman. Just ahead – how about a nice hot cup of genetically modified joe? But first this note on emerging science from Jessica Ilyse Smith.
SMITH: What happens when crisis strikes the sewers?
[MUSIC: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Theme Song]
SMITH: No, it’s not the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the rescue, but engineers working to save our waterways from sewage overflows.
[SCIENCE NOTE THEME]
SMITH: Researchers at both Purdue and Notre Dame University have teamed up with the company, EmNet, to create a network of mechanized sewers for the city of South Bend, Indiana. Their goal is to reduce overflow of raw sewage into nearby waterways during heavy rain. Overflow is a problem for nearly 770 cities in the U.S., where everything from toilet waste to street-water runoff is combined in one sewer system. This method leaves little capacity for water build-up during a large storm.
Combined sewer overflows are problematic for both aquatic ecosystems and humans, who use lakes and rivers for recreation. Raw sewage released into waterways may contain E. coli, as well as other disease-causing bacteria and parasites. The EPA estimates there are at least 40,000 such overflows each year.
Now, that’s Turtle Power!
That's this week's note on emerging science; I'm Jessica Ilyse Smith.
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