Lutgarde Raskin and Sarah Haig in the lab

Podcast: Remaking water infrastructure

In S1E2, harnessing waterborne microbes for data and health.

Even after COVID-19 is controlled, climate change, growing resistance to antibiotics and lack of clean water will still be waiting for us. We need research that could change… everything. That’s what Blue Sky is all about.

We may not like to think of our water as being filled with microbes but…well, they’re in there. And we could be recruiting some to help us out rather than treating them like a monolithic opposition to be roundly defeated with an abundance of chlorine. Lut Raskin, professor of civil and environmental engineering, leads a project that aims to understand and harness the water biome. And it’s not just about healthier water. Understanding microbes could clue us in when water infrastructure is starting to break down—for instance, when cracks are developing in water mains or when protective coatings on the insides of old lead pipes are being corroded away.

About the podcast: The Blue Sky podcast is a limited series from RE: Engineering Radio and the University of Michigan College of Engineering. It delves into the four research projects funded as part of the $6 million Blue Sky initiative. Launched in 2018, the initiative gives research teams the freedom to try daring ideas, show results and build momentum to secure further research investment in their efforts to solve global problems. Season 1 is an introduction to each project.