How water and waste innovations make cities possible

What do toilets and iPhone’s have in common? How did water, sewer and solid waste innovations make cities possible? And why is big infrastructure essential to make cities function? If you want answers, we recommend you watch this fantastic PBS video.

Part of a six part series titled “HOW WE GOT TO NOW” with Steven Johnson, “The Story of Clean” is a captivating one that traces innovations in the water, sewer and waste industry that can be credited for the making of the modern world.

The narrator connects seemingly unconnected developments in high-tech, fashion, law and order and health to the so-called “heroes of clean.” Johnson also animates the story of our own United Water forefathers who took then-radical water treatment measures to eradicate cholera and typhoid in the early 1900’s.

We know now that access to clean drinking water and the prevention of its contamination through waste management is the backbone for the circular economy. But it is gratifying to look at our daily work through a broad historical lens.



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