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From Safe Sanitation in Peru to Renewable Wastewater Treatment in Oregon

Jacobs’ Wastewater Engineer Kristen Jackson recently walked a Portland-area news crew through her passion for bettering communities with safe water in a recent “Those Who Serve” feature.

Did you know that 4.5 billion people around the globe don’t have access to adequate sanitation? Or that 3.4 million people die every year from water-related diseases?

This eye-opening number of loss includes approximately 1,300 children per day – something Kristen Jackson, Jacobs wastewater engineer experienced firsthand while working with the Peace Corps in Peru for three years.

In a recent feature for the “Those Who Serve” series with the local NBC station, Kristen shared that while in Peru, she worked closely with the community mothers who could see their children suffering from lack of clean water and consequently, poor nutrition. While there, she helped build 10 composting toilets to improve sanitation practices for the local community.

At Jacobs, Kristen, who’s always been fascinated by water, works with clients such as the City of Gresham, Oregon, where Jacobs manages the wastewater treatment program – including planning, design and construction of capital projects, managing plant operations and maintenance contracts, implementing ongoing asset management strategies and helping the city’s wastewater treatment plant achieve net-zero energy use with renewable energy and energy conservation projects. In summer 2018, the plant became Oregon state’s first facility to be certified as eligible to earn renewable energy certificates for producing thermal energy.

And every year since returning from Peace Corps, Kristen travels the globe to build sport courts alongside a nonprofit Courts for Kids – demonstrating her desire to deliver a more connected, sustainable world.

“If you rank issues that are important across the globe, water is at the heart of a lot of health and development issues that you see in communities, and that stems down to water and sanitation infrastructure,” she notes as a driver behind what’s inspired her civil engineering career. A career which she hopes more women will pursue in the future.

In Jacobs’ first-ever Water For People employee giving campaign in 2018, we donated more than $250,000 to the non-profit organization whose mission is to facilitate the development of safe water, improved sanitation and health and hygiene education in nine countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Discover how we’re helping secure a world where no one suffers or dies from a water or sanitation-related disease – and watch Kristen’s full "Those Who Serve" interview here.


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