Engineers Study Hurricane Effects on Water Quality and Public Health

Wearing waders and face masks, Rice University  engineering professors and graduate students explored the natural laboratory that Tropical Storm Harvey's floodwaters created in Houston's neighborhoods and beyond. The team was on a mission to collect samples of floodwater. They will use the collected data from flooded areas to study Harvey's short- and long-term impact on water quality and related public health issues. Rice professor Qilin Li said analysis will look for signs of chemical and biological contaminants in floodwaters. "We don't want this to be just a short-term study," she said. "We want to look at the dynamics of the contaminants, how quickly they show up in the floodwater and, once the floodwater recedes, how quickly or slowly they go away."