Emily is a first-year masters student studying Environmental Management at the Nicholas School of the Environment.  Her interests revolve around water and wastewater infrastructure in the US. She is also interested in land use planning. She has a professional and educational background in architecture, and is interested in finding ways to balance development and environmental needs.  Her research will focus on the physical and financial barriers to improving wastewater treatment in rural Alabama as part of the larger Lowndes County Sanitation Access Network (LC-SAN) project, an interdisciplinary, community-based research project at Duke. More than 80% of households cannot connect to the municipal sewerage and must finance private septic systems individually in Lowndes County. In addition, half of the septic systems are failing or often back up because the chalky clay soil prevents water from percolating into the ground. The LC-SAN team expects to provide real solutions in service to the local community, and cross-school collaboration, to motivate graduate students to develop understanding beyond their discipline and develop useful skills for their future careers as academics and practitioners in interdisciplinary settings.


Lack of Access to Wastewater Infrastructure – Lowndes County, Alabama