Dr. Rob Traver Discusses Seine River Cleanup in ‘Time’ Cover Story

Dr. Robert Traver

Rob Traver, PhD, PE, director of the Villanova Center for Resilient Water Systems, was quoted in a Time cover story on efforts to clean up the Seine River in Paris.

The article, which leads the magazine’s issue for April 10-17, 2023, describes French officials’ plans to make the Seine swimmable in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. In the piece, Dr. Traver compares the ambitious project to similar discussions in Philadelphia to rid the Delaware River of pollution and make it safe for swimming.

“We have a 20-year plan, and at the end of the 20 years, we have another 20-year plan,” says Dr. Traver, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering who is also director of the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership. “Whether it is ever going to happen, I don’t know.”

Although antiquated stormwater infrastructure in both Paris and Philadelphia has resulted in sewage being dumped in the cities’ rivers, according to the article, Dr. Traver says that “you cannot put in a whole new sanitation system. It’s ridiculously expensive.”

Instead, engineers in Paris have designed a rainwater storage tank to prevent runoff from overwhelming the city’s sanitation system during downpours.

The article notes that other cities and countries have made similar attempts to clean up their rivers and lakes, and many are keeping a close watch on Paris to see if its project is successful. “Nothing in Paris’ plan is unique,” Dr. Traver says. “But to do it is unique.”

Read the full story at Time.com.


Elizabeth Slocum
Director, Communication and Marketing