Scientific sewer tour with Andrea Silverman

Since wastewater and sewage systems can carry waste-born pathogens, sample-based assays can prove a bellwether for outbreaks of disease in communities. Researchers, like Andrea Silverman, NYU Tandon assistant professor of civil and urban engineering and member of the Center for Urban Science and Progress, are now leading projects like New York’s Flood Sense, which alerts residents to sewage exposure, while SARS-CoV-2 detection in city wastewater has demonstrated the importance of monitoring these systems. “The premise behind sewage surveillance is that some of the compounds or organisms that we excrete can say something about our house. …Everyone is contributing their excreta to the sewage system, so we’re in essence sampling the whole community,” said Silverman.