Just how hard is it to keep wastewater out of our drinking water? Super hard. In this episode, we take a look at the lengths one great American city, Chicago, went to in order to keep the source of its drinking water clean. Reverse the flow of the river? Why not? Then we explore the origins of activated sludge — a century-old microbial goo that still cleans up our sewage today. We end with a scientist studying what a city’s wastewater can reveal about the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Benjamin Sells, author of The Tunnel under the Lake: The Engineering Marvel That Saved Chicago
Daniel Schneider, University of Illinois, author of Hybrid Nature: Sewage Treatment and the Contradictions of the Industrial Ecosystem
Glenn E. Simmons, Jr., University of Minnesota-Duluth
Photo: Courtesy of MIT Press