Leslie Schehl is a Supervising Engineer at the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati and John Phillips is Director of Integrated Watershed Management at Parametrix, as well as co-chairs of the 2020 National Stormwater Symposium. In this episode Leslie and John explain how climate change is altering rainfall patterns and posing challenges for stormwater management, particularly in the form of urban flooding. They talk about the adoption of digital technology across the sector and the rise of smart sewers. Leslie and John also discuss the ongoing issues of maintenance and funding of stormwater infrastructure.
Dave Elias is Southeast Regional Manager with Airvac. In this episode Dave explains how vacuum sewer systems work and why they often replace septic systems in low-lying, coastal areas. He shares some stories about the tangible benefits of vacuum systems in Florida, including at Crystal River, Indian River Lagoon, and the Keys. Dave also discusses how vacuum systems are resilient to major storms and hurricanes.
Jon Schladweiler is the historian for the AZ Water Association and curator of The Sewer History Exhibit. In this episode Jon talks about the history of sewers, including the origins of sewers 5,500 years ago in what is now Pakistan, the introduction of clay pipes in Babylon, the Roman Empire’s improvements, and that the Dark Ages led to its rebirth. He explains how combined sewer systems and separate sewer systems developed in the United States, and how demand and funding for the infrastructure played a role. Jon says sewers are one of civilization’s most significant achievements for human health and that the perfect sewer has not yet been built.
Mark Schleifstein is a Pulitzer Prize-winning environmental reporter for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans and for NOLA.com. In this episode Mark explains why he has stayed in environmental reporting for 35 years, how major cuts to newsrooms have impacted journalism, and what types of water stories resonate with the public. He talks about several high-profile issues he has covered including the loss of wetlands along Louisiana’s coast, health of the Mississippi River, dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, impacts of the BP oil spill, and Hurricane Katrina. Mark also discusses the infrastructure challenges in New Orleans and provides advice for water utilities on working with the media.