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  1. Abstract

    Cities evolve through phases of construction, demolition, vacancy, and redevelopment, each impacting water movement at the land surface by altering soil hydrologic properties, land cover, and topography. Currently unknown is whether the variable physical and vegetative characteristics associated with vacant parcels and introduced by demolition may absorb rainfall and thereby diminish stormwater runoff. To investigate this, we evaluate how vacant lots modulate citywide hydrologic partitioning by synthesizing a novel field dataset across 500+ parcels in Buffalo, New York, USA. Vacant lot infiltration rates vary widely (0.001 to 5.39 cm h−1), though parcels are generally well-vegetated and gently sloped. Extending field estimates to 2400 vacant parcels, we estimate that vacant lands citywide may cumulatively infiltrate 51–54% additional annual rainfall volume as compared to pre-demolition state, in part by reducing and disconnecting impervious areas. Our findings differentiate vacant lots as purposeful landscapes that can alleviate large water fluxes into aging wastewater infrastructure.

  2. Wastewater surveillance for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an emerging approach to help identify the risk of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. This tool can contribute to public health surveillance at both community (wastewater treatment system) and institutional (e.g., colleges, prisons, and nursing homes) scales. This paper explores the successes, challenges, and lessons learned from initial wastewater surveillance efforts at colleges and university systems to inform future research, development and implementation. We present the experiences of 25 college and university systems in the United States that monitored campus wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 during the fall 2020 academic period. We describe the broad range of approaches, findings, resources, and impacts from these initial efforts. These institutions range in size, social and political geographies, and include both public and private institutions. Our analysis suggests that wastewater monitoring at colleges requires consideration of local information needs, sewage infrastructure, resources for sampling and analysis, college and community dynamics, approaches to interpretation and communication of results, and follow-up actions. Most colleges reported that a learning process of experimentation, evaluation, and adaptation was key to progress. This process requires ongoing collaboration among diverse stakeholders including decision-makers, researchers, faculty, facilities staff, students, and communitymore »members.« less