Institute Associate Professor
Andrea Silverman is an Associate Professor of environmental engineering in the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and is also affiliated with the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) at NYU.
Dr. Silverman’s research is centered on water quality, wastewater treatment, and urban flooding, with an overarching goal to protect public health and environmental quality. Within the broad topics of water and wastewater treatment, she focuses on the detection and disinfection of waterborne pathogens, wastewater-based epidemiology, the design of natural wastewater treatment systems (e.g., treatment ponds and constructed wetlands), and the safe reuse of human waste. Dr. Silverman works in both high- and low-income settings, and has conducted field research in New York City; California; Accra, Ghana; and Nairobi, Kenya.
In addition to laboratory-based research, Dr. Silverman works on applied urban projects. Dr. Silverman co-directs the FloodNet project, with a goal to design, build, and deploy low-cost sensors to measure and report hyperlocal urban flooding in real time. She also partnered with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection to help develop and implement NYC’s wastewater surveillance program for COVID-19. Through these projects she has collaborated with local and federal government agencies, as well as community-based organizations in New York City.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2005
Bachelor of Science, Environmental Engineering
University of California, Berkeley 2009
Master of Science, Environmental Engineering
University of California, Berkeley 2013
PhD, Environmental Engineering
- Andrea I. Silverman, Tega Brain, Brett Branco, Praneeth sai venkat Challagonda, Petra Choi, Rebecca Fischman, Kathryn Graziano, Elizabeth Hénaff, Charlie Mydlarz, Paul Rothman, and Ricardo Toledo-Crow. 2022. Making Waves: Uses of real-time, hyperlocal flood sensor data for emergency management, resiliency planning, and flood impact mitigation. Water Research, 118648. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2022.118648
- Catherine Hoar, Yitao Li, and Andrea I. Silverman. 2022. Assessment of commonly-measured wastewater parameters to estimate sewershed populations for use in wastewater-based epidemiology: insights into population dynamics in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic. Environmental Science & Technology Water. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsestwater.2c00052
- Catherine Hoar, Francoise Chauvin, Alexander Clare, Hope McGibbon, Esmeraldo Castro, Samantha Patinella, Dimitrios Katehis, John J. Dennehy, Monica Trujillo, Davida Smyth, and Andrea I. Silverman. 2022. Monitoring SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater during New York City's second wave of COVID-19: Sewershed-level trends and relationships to publicly-available clinical testing data. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, 8: 1021-1035. https://doi.org/10.1039/D1EW00747E
- Fiona B. Dunn and Andrea I. Silverman. 2021. Sunlight photolysis of extracellular and intracellular antibiotic resistance genes tetA and sul2 in photosensitizer-free water. Environmental Science & Technology, 55: 11019-11028. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.1c00732
- Mwanarusi H. Mwatondo and Andrea I. Silverman. 2021. Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp. indigenous to wastewater have slower free chlorine disinfection rates than their laboratory-cultured counterparts. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 8: 1091-1097. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.estlett.1c00732
- Zelfa Hamadieh, Kerry A. Hamilton, and Andrea I. Silverman. 2021. Systematic review of the relative concentrations of noroviruses and fecal indicator bacteria in wastewater: considerations for use in quantitative microbial risk assessment. Journal of Water and Health, 19: 918-932. https://doi.org/10.2166/wh.2021.068
- Andrea I. Silverman and Alexandria B. Boehm. 2021. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the persistence of enveloped viruses in environmental waters and wastewater in the absence of disinfectants. Environmental Science & Technology, 55: 14480–14493. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.1c03977
- Jill S. McClary-Gutierrez, Mia C. Mattioli, Perrine Marcenac, Andrea I. Silverman, Alexandria B. Boehm, Kyle Bibby, Michael Balliet, Francis L. de los Reyes, Daniel Gerrity, John F. Griffith, Patricia A. Holden, Dimitrios Katehis, Greg Kester, Nathan LaCross, Erin K. Lipp, Jonathan Meiman, Rachel T. Noble, Dominique Brossard, and Sandra L. McLellan. 2021. SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance for public health action. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 27. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2709.210753
- Marlene K. Wolfe, Anand Archana, David Catoe, Mhara M. Coffman, Samuel Dorevich, Katherine E. Graham, Sooyeol Kim, Lorelay Mendoza Grijalva, Laura Roldan-Hernandez, Andrea I. Silverman, Nasa Sinnott-Armstrong, Duc J. Vugia, Alexander T. Yu, Winnie Zambrana, Krista R. Wigginton, and Alexandria B. Boehm. 2021. Scaling of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in settled solids from multiple wastewater treatment plants to compare incidence rates of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in their sewersheds. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 8: 398–404. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.estlett.1c00184
- Andrea I. Silverman and Alexandria B. Boehm. 2020. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the persistence and disinfection of human coronaviruses and their viral surrogates in water and wastewater. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 7: 544–553. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.estlett.0c00313
- Xinyi Zhang, Amanda Lardizabal, Andrea I. Silverman, Davide Vione, Tamar Kohn, Thanh H. Nguyen, and Jeremy S. Guest. 2020. Global sensitivity analysis of environmental, water quality, photoreactivity, and engineering design parameters in sunlight inactivation of viruses. Environmental Science & Technology, 54: 8401–8410. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c01214
- Adlai Katzenberg, Akash Raman, Nicole L. Schnabel, Andrea L. Quispe, Andrea I. Silverman, and Miguel A. Modestino. 2020. Photocatalytic hydrogels for removal of organic contaminants from aqueous solution. Reaction Chemistry & Engineering, 5: 377–386. https://doi.org/10.1039/C9RE00456D
- Alexandria B. Boehm, Andrea I. Silverman, Alexander Schriewer, and Kelly Goodwin. 2019. Systematic review and meta-analysis of decay rates of waterborne mammalian viruses and coliphages in surface waters. Water Research, 164. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2019.114898
- Andrea I. Silverman, Nerissa Tay, and Nikoloas Machairas. 2019. Comparison of biological weighting functions used to model endogenous sunlight inactivation rates of MS2 coliphage. Water Research, 151: 439-446. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2018.12.015
- Andrea I. Silverman, David L. Sedlak, and Kara L. Nelson. 2019. Simplified process to determine rate constants for sunlight-mediated removal of trace organic and microbial contaminants in unit process open-water treatment wetlands. Environmental Engineering Science, 36: 43-59. https://doi.org/10.1089/ees.2018.0177
- Kara L. Nelson, Alexandria B. Boehm, Rob J. Davies-Colley, Michael C. Dodd, Tamar Kohn, Karl G. Linden, Y. Liu, Peter A. Maraccini, Kris McNeill, William A. Mitch, Thanh H. Nguyen, Kimberly M. Parker, Roberto A. Rodriguez, Lauren M. Sassoubre, Andrea I. Silverman, Krista R. Wigginton, and Richard G. Zepp. 2018. Sunlight-mediated inactivation of microorganisms in water: A review of mechanisms and modeling approaches. Environmental Science: Processes & Technologies, 20: 1089-1122. https://doi.org/10.1039/C8EM00047F
- Andrea I. Silverman and Kara L. Nelson. 2016. Modeling the endogenous sunlight inactivation rates of laboratory strain and wastewater E. coli and enterococci using biological weighting functions. Environmental Science & Technology, 50: 12292−12301. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b03721
- Andrea I. Silverman, Mi T. Nguyen, Iris E. Schilling, Jannis Wenk, and Kara L. Nelson. 2015. Sunlight inactivation of viruses in open-water unit process treatment wetlands: Modeling endogenous and exogenous inactivation rates. Environmental Science & Technology, 49: 2757- 2766. https://doi.org/10.1021/es5049754
- Andrea I. Silverman, Mark O. Akrong, Pay Drechsel, and Kara L. Nelson. 2014. On-farm treatment of wastewater used for vegetable irrigation: Bacteria and virus removal in small ponds in Accra, Ghana. Journal of Water Reuse and Desalination, 4: 276-286. https://doi.org/10.2166/wrd.2014.010
- Mi T. Nguyen, Andrea I. Silverman, and Kara L. Nelson. 2014. Sunlight inactivation of MS2 coliphage in the absence of photosensitizers: Modeling the endogenous inactivation rate using a photoaction spectrum. Environmental Science & Technology, 48: 3891-3898. https://doi.org/10.1021/es405323p
- Andrea I. Silverman, Britt M. Peterson, Alexandria B. Boehm, Kristopher McNeill, and Kara L. Nelson. 2013. Sunlight inactivation of human viruses and bacteriophages in coastal waters containing natural photosensitizers. Environmental Science & Technology, 47: 1870–1878. https://doi.org/10.1021/es3036913
- Andrea I. Silverman, Mark O. Akrong, Philip Amoah, Pay Drechsel, and Kara L. Nelson. 2013. Quantification of human norovirus GII, human adenovirus, and fecal indicator organisms in wastewater used for irrigation in Accra, Ghana. Journal of Water and Health, 11: 473-488. https://doi.org/10.2166/wh.2013.025
- Lauren M. Sassoubre, Dave C. Love, Andrea I. Silverman, Kara L. Nelson, and Alexandria B. Boehm. 2012. Comparison of enterovirus and adenovirus concentration and enumeration methods in seawater from Southern California, USA and Baja Malibu, Mexico. Journal of Water and Health, 10: 419-430. https://doi.org/10.2166/wh.2012.011
- Dave C. Love, Andrea I. Silverman, and Kara L. Nelson. 2010. Human virus and bacteriophage inactivation in clear water by simulated sunlight compared to bacteriophage inactivation at a Southern California beach. Environmental Science & Technology, 44: 6965-6970. https://doi.org/10.1021/es1001924
Book Chapters and Design Manuals
- Andrea I. Silverman, Kara L. Nelson, and David L. Sedlak 2019. Guidelines for the Design and Operation of Unit-process, Open-water Wetlands. Guidance manual published by the Engineering Research Center for Re-inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt). LINK
- Bernard Keraita, Andrea I. Silverman, Philip Amoah, and Senorpe Asem-Hiablie. 2014. Quality of Irrigation Water Used for Urban Vegetable Production. In: Irrigated Urban Vegetable Production in Ghana: Characteristics, Benefits and Risk Mitigation, 2nd Ed. P. Drechsel and B. Keraita, Eds. pp. 62-73. LINK
Monitoring SARS-CoV-2 in wastwater during NYC’s second wave of COVID-19: sewershed level trends and relationships to publicly available clinical testing data
Collaborators in this research, whose corresponding author is Andrea Silverman, Assistant Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering and a member of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at NYU Tandon, include Catherine Hoar, a postdoctoral researcher at NYU Tandon; and investigators at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection; Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY); the CUNY Graduate Center; CUNY Queensborough Community College; and the Eugene Lang College of The New School.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) partnered with academic institutions, including NYU Tandon, to launch a wastewater monitoring program with the goal of tracking concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater from the city’s 14 sewersheds. Cities like New York established such wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) programs on the premise that viral particles of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, are excreted by infected individuals into the sewer system. Such WBE data can provide community-level information that is not biased by rates of clinical testing, which may vary in different communities or at different times throughout the pandemic.
New research, led by Andrea Silverman, assistant professor of environmental engineering, and Catherine Hoar, a postdoctoral researcher under Silverman’s supervision, presents insights from the development of this monitoring program and explores the extent to which trends in SARS-CoV-2 concentrations in wastewater reflect trends in COVID-19 cases confirmed from clinical testing in NYC communities.
To assess the relationship between the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 in the city’s sewersheds and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the communities served by those sewersheds, the researchers analyzed samples of raw wastewater entering each of NYC’s 14 wastewater treatment facilities every week during the City’s second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, beginning in in August 2020. They then compared viral load data they’d gathered from wastewater samples to publicly available case data provided by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).
In correlating the wastewater and clinical data sets for each sewershed, they found that SARS-CoV-2 viral loads in wastewater corresponded to new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the corresponding populations for all individual sewersheds: an increase in COVID-19 cases was associated with an increase in SARS-CoV-2 concentrations in wastewater. The researchers also used this analysis to estimate the minimum number of new COVID-19 cases per day that was associated with detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater with the monitoring methodology they applied.
Broadly, the researchers concluded that relative trends in SARS-CoV-2 loads in wastewater can be evaluated and associated with trends in clinical testing data, and therefore can potentially contribute to situational awareness of disease incidence in large urban sewersheds. The data from this work is publicly available via the NYC Open Data portal and the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s wastewater surveillance data dashboard. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and evolves, Dr. Silverman and Dr. Hoar continue to partner with and advise the NYC DEP in their ongoing COVID-19 WBE program.
The research was supported by he New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP), and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
- Andrea Silverman