December 18, 2023

Warriors in the Community, Episode 36: Addressing infrastructure in Detroit

Warriors in the Community is a radio segment that features short, insightful interviews with key figures from Wayne State University about the many ways in which the university and its programs make a positive impact on the metro area and on the lives of Detroiters. 

In this episode, we talk with Bill Shuster, Ph.D., chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering, about how WSU works with local officials and citizens to address issues of aging infrastructure in Detroit, particularly its water and sewerage system. Shuster came to Wayne State in 2019 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where since 2002 he had served as a senior research hydrologist. He has conducted groundbreaking field research in a nationwide assessment of urban soils for their suitability in development of engineered green infrastructures, developing the science around improved demolition practices, researching how cities can leverage urban landscapes and soils toward stormwater and wastewater management objectives, and applications of sustainability science to urban hydrology. 

Announcer: This is Warriors in the Community, brought to you by Wayne State University. And now, to learn about how Wayne State is positively impacting our communities, here's Darrell Dawsey.

Darrell Dawsey: Today we're talking with Bill Schuster, Ph.D., Chairman and Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and he's here to talk to us a little bit about WSU and the impact of infrastructure in the city of Detroit.

Welcome, Bill.

Bill Shuster: Thank you. 

Bill Shuster, Ph.D.

Darrell Dawsey: Give us an overview...

Bill Shuster: Well, let's go over what does a civil environmental engineer do. We're trained in heavy civil disciplines of transportation, structures, and materials, and, uh, construction engineering. And on the environmental side, that's your air, soil. And then in terms of water, our drinking water, very broad, comprehensive training there, but for steady stream of undergraduate engineers and graduate engineers that are trained to maintain, restore, design, and build the infrastructure of the future critical services to all of us. One of the things that we're very conscious of at Wayne State is that we're here to serve. One of the most important points is that we know Detroit. We know to listen. Before you make a proclamation, you listen, because the residents are the experts.

Darrell Dawsey: Tick off some of the most, you know, concerning, most pressing issues.

Bill Shuster: We live in a big city. Actually, we have 20 percent vacant land. You know, the way that it kind of splits things up, it affects how we get around, transportation wise. Which areas of the city get more attention than others? Aging infrastructure. It is exactly, I think, part of the response you get from most engineers, and this is what we're up against.

There's this whole constellation of conversations that keep me grounded in Detroit.

Darrell Dawsey: Bill Shuster, thank you so much for joining.

Bill Shuster: I appreciate your time.

Announcer: This has been Warriors in the Community. For more Wayne State news, please visit us online at today. wayne. edu slash wwj and join us here next Monday at the same time for more Warriors in the Community.

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