The Atlantic Citie writes about a University of Pittsburgh Ph.D. candidate who co-authored research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology that aims to determine how much sewers leak.
They studied water samples from Pittsburgh’s Nine Mile Run, one of two urban streams that still exist within the city limits (before we used such streams to dump our refuse, then piped them up and built over them, most cities were covered in small streams: "If you look at any maps with all the buildings and political boundaries taken off," Divers says, "you can see where the streams should be").
The researchers were particularly looking for a kind of nitrogen that can come from sewer systems, industrial sources, lawn fertilizer or any fossil fuels burned into the atmosphere eventually creating deposits on the landscape (fascinating side note: scientists can estimate runoff from lawn fertilizers by looking at the housing stock and financial stability of neighborhoods).
Original source: Atlantic Cities
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