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Sift through the muck in the pipes below our streets and you will discover a wealth of information about public health, climate change, sustainability, consumerism, infrastructure failures and more. Jessica Leigh Hester does just that in her new book, Sewer. Join her as she moderates a discussion with scientists from London, Toronto, California and New York’s own Hudson River Park. They dig into fatbergs, microplastics, Covid sampling, and cutting edge sewage technology, and will forever change how you think about what goes down our drains.


Jessica Leigh Hester is a science journalist and author of Sewer. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, New Yorker, New York Times, Atlas Obscura, and more. She is also a PhD student at Johns Hopkins University, studying the history of medicine.






Andy Howard is a Field Operations Specialist for the Lanes Group in London, which is the cleaning and maintenance arm of Thames Water. Andy coordinates and works alongside several teams of trunk sewer engineers who look after London’s Victorian trunk sewer network 24/7. A certified engineer with numerous additional confined space certifications, in his decade of service he has overseen the Whitechapel and Blackfriars fatberg removal and many other sewer emergencies. 


Anum Khan is a Research and Operations Facilitator at Urban Water Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) in Canada. She previously worked at the Flushability Lab (formerly known as Ryerson Flushability Lab) under the supervision of researchers, Barry Orr, and Dr. Darko Joksimovic, to test 101 consumer products (e.g., baby wipes, cleaning wipes, tampon applicators) for their dispersibility in water through a simulated residential drainline setup. In 2019, Anum set out to complete her master’s program focused on identifying and detecting gross solids in sewers through imaging sensors and edge computing.



Dr. Colleen C. Naughton is an Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of California Merced. Her lab designs sustainable and culturally sensitive food-energy-water systems through Life Cycle Assessment, Geographic Information Systems, integration of Anthropology and Engineering, and effective Science policy. Before coming to UC Merced, she served as a Science and Technology Policy Fellowship with the Millennium Challenge Corporation in Washington, D.C., through the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She was part of the Peace Corps Master’s International Program where she served and conducted research in Mali, West Africa for three years as a Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Engineer.



Carrie Roble is the Vice President of Estuary & Education at Hudson River Park’s River Project. As an aquatic ecologist, science communicator and community leader, Carrie is dedicated to clean water and inclusive science. Through sustained strategic partnerships, mentorship and data-driven solutions, Carrie hopes her work empowers community stewardship and a more sustainable New York City. Carrie has a Bachelor of Arts from Bowdoin College and a Master of Science in aquatic science and environmental justice from University of Michigan's School for Environment and Sustainability.


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