Smart Sewers for Smart Cities: How Data-Mining Sewage Can Radically Improve Public Health

Smart Sewers for Smart Cities_ How Data-Mining Sewage Can Improve Public Health from Security & Sustainability Forum on Vimeo.

Link to the slides here

Originally aired on 5/22/2019

Learn about an innovative technology that can identify trends at any scale: across an entire city down to a specific site, and can identify emergent epidemiological threats before they spread. Using Tempe, Arizona as a test case, we look at how Tempe has tracked the opioid epidemic, and how it has led to specific actions and better outcomes.

Panelists Rolf Halden and Adam Gushgari with the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and Stephanie Deitrick and Andrea Glass with the City of Tempe discuss the implications for use of this technology, and the potential benefits it offers at scale. Watch LightWorks at Arizona State University and SSF in this 90-minute session about this innovative technology that can have huge impacts on public health with radically less effort, cost, and invasion of privacy.



Moderator Rolf is a professor of at Arizona State University, where he founded the Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering and the Human Health Observatory. He authored 200+ publications examining environmental and human health issues in populations worldwide via analysis of biochemical agents detectable in the water cycle. Rolf serves on the Expert Team of the American Chemistry Society and has been invited repeatedly to brief the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Academies, and members of U.S. Congress on environmental health and sustainability challenges.

STEPHANIE DEITRICK Dr. Stephanie Deitrick is the Enterprise GIS and Data Solutions Manager for the City of Tempe, Arizona. She has over 15 years of experience in GIS and earned her PhD from Arizona State University, where she focused on GIS and public policy decision support. Her current responsibilities include overseeing enterprise GIS data and applications and collaborating with departments to help them leverage GIS and data to support Tempe’s strategic performance measures, as well as developing both internal and public-facing dashboards and visualizations.

ADAM GUSHGARI Adam Gushgari received his PhD in Civil/Environmental Engineering studying under Dr. Rolf Halden at Arizona State University and is currently one of the co-founders of AquaVitas—a company focused on using wastewater monitoring as a tool to help curb the opioid epidemic—a crisis that has impacted him personally. A born and bred Arizona native, Adam uses his unique background of land development civil engineering, analytical chemistry, and his personal experiences to assist community stakeholders in understanding their drug and health problems through wastewater monitoring.

ANDREA GLASS Andrea is the Interim Assistant Chief over Community Risk Reduction for the Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department. She has served the department for over 18 years and has extensive experience in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) serving as both the EMS Training Captain and EMS Deputy Chief. Andrea participates in the Regional Opioid Task Force and has served as a panel member on the opioid epidemic for the Arizona League of Cities, Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), and Tempe’s Opioid Town Hall. Andrea also teaches about opioid abuse awareness in Tempe.

MAC McCULLOUGH Mac McCullough’s research involves quantifying investments in public health and social services and assessing how these investments are put to use in order to improve population health. He recently led the development of a new data source to track spending on health and social services at the local level and has used these data to explore how communities’ spending can influence health outcomes and rankings.

Professor McCullough serves as deputy director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded National Safety Net Advancement Center and as health economist at the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. He is chair of the Academy Health Public Health Systems Research interest group. He has previously worked at the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of State.