Daniel W. Smith is a Stanford PhD candidate in environmental engineering. He studies how improvements to drinking water services can be sustained and scaled up in lower-income settings using methods from engineering, economics, and social sciences. Smith’s interdisciplinary outlook is inspired by his prior work in hazardous waste engineering, building municipal drinking water treatment plants in Central America, and managing water, sanitation, and hygiene programs in Latin America and Africa. His research focuses on assessing demand for improvements to microbial water quality in Dhaka, Bangladesh and the reliability of rural water supplies in Uganda. He holds a BS from Cornell University (magna cum laude), MSc in water, sanitation, and health engineering from the University of Leeds (with distinction), and an MS in environmental engineering from Stanford. He is a National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellow, Stanford Graduate Fellow in Science & Engineering, and a former Fulbright Scholar.
Chlorinating drinking water can reduce waterborne disease in lower-income populations, but it also changes the taste of water and creates carcinogenic chemicals called disinfection byproducts. This study collects field data and uses a Monte Carlo simulation to test what dose of chlorine most reduces the overall health risk of drinking tap water in Dhaka, Bangladesh when people’s perception of acceptable chlorine taste and the creation of disinfection byproducts are taken into account. Smith’s findings will inform global recommendations for treating drinking water with chlorine in lower-income countries.