What does your job entail?
As a research assistant, Ann is currently researching the impact of seasonal temperature change on the biological removal of nitrogen and phosphorus at a wastewater treatment plant in Tampa, FL. In addition, Ann works as a technician at Hazen and Sawyer. There she works in the wastewater and drinking field as an environmental engineering consultant on design and improvements for treatment plants
How do you transform people's live with you job?
Myself and my coworkers are the behind the scenes people who enable safe drinking water and safe surface water are available to everyone. Without people in our industry no one would be able to drink from the tap or swim in a harbor or bay.
What's the most rewarding part of your job?
Knowing that I am reducing the costs (through chemical and energy) to taxpayers by optimizing their treatment plants. They may never realize what I am doing, but in the long run I am not only preventing greenhouse gases but also finding ways to save their money.
If you could change one thing within the water industry, what would it be?
I would make sure there was more outreach so there was more of an understanding. If no one knows what we do and how we can treat water successfully then there will always be a stigma with wastewater effluent and the uses for it. For example, we have the technology to make drinking water from wastewater effluent, but the public perception prevents that more times than not. This idea of outreach and education needs to also be expanded to the developing countries without access to clean water.
What has impacted your the most since you started working in the water industry?
When I was in undergrad at the University of New Hampshire, I worked with Engineers Without Borders on disinfecting drinking water at drinking wells in one community. I also designed a rainwater catchment system for that community that could be used for cooking and cleaning and was cheap and easily constructed by even the poorest families. These projects really impacted me because not only do those communities deserve clean drinking water, but there is a worldwide lack of understanding of its importance. This encouraged me to further pursue my education and find ways to be active in outreach.