Staff helps rain drain
Purdue staff strive to help protect and improve the quality of underground water resources and to continue to execute the University's comprehensive campus storm water management program. Campus storm water treatments include bioswales, permeable pavement and pervious concrete, rain gardens, infiltration beds and green roofs.
Bioswales are located on the grounds of Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts, Bindley Bioscience Center, Ross-Ade Stadium, Mollenkopf Athletic Center and the Armory parking lot. Bioswales are planted near streets or parking lots to capture and control the flow of surface water runoff. They are also designed to treat the water by allowing the vegetation to filter pollutants such as oil and grease. Bioswales containing native plant life require very little water and care and are resistant to local pests, disease and weed infestations. Bioswales also increase the attractiveness of parking lots with landscape features that provide food and shelter for birds and butterflies.
During Green Week 2010, Boiler Green Initiative member Ben Futa explains the function of the bioswale located on the grounds of Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts. (Purdue University/Mark Simons)
In 2007, permeable pavement (also known as porous asphalt) was first installed at the Horticulture Service Drive. Permeable pavement allows water to drain through it, reducing storm water runoff and pollutants. Other campus sites with permeable pavement include Beering Drive, the Black Cultural Center parking lot, and the band practice field. In addition to permeable pavement, pervious concrete parking lots have been installed at the Armory, Mariott Hall and at the intersection of Third and Russell streets.
Pervious concrete is produced from natural resources, is able to drain water and is a very durable product, standing up to heavy vehicle traffic. Permeable pavers have also been incorporated into various projects including those at Stadium Mall, Hilltop Apartments and Crossing the Tracks.
A rain garden was installed at the Hillel House in spring 2010 by the Boiler Green Initiative (BGI) team. Planted with native vegetation, the rain garden was created in a natural depression that absorbs the surface water and then filters it through the soil before it enters the ground water system. Much like bioswales, the rain garden attracts local wildlife including birds and provides an aesthetically pleasing environment. Additional rain gardens are in the planning stages near the Horticulture Building.
(From left) LEED-certified staff members Dan Schuster, Luci Keazer, Gene Hatke and Don Staley test permeable pavement at Horticulture Service Drive. Porous asphalt allows water to drain through it, reducing storm water runoff and pollutants. (Photo provided by Physical Facilities)
Infiltration beds have been installed beneath the football practice fields, in Stadium Mall and in sections of the Neil Armstrong Hall parking lot. These beds are built beneath the surface and provide temporary storage and infiltration of storm water runoff. Utilizing a clean stone media, they allow water to collect and then naturally filter through to recharge the ground water aquifer.
In 2009, the goal of installing a Green Roof at Schleman Hall was realized when students from BGI received a grant from State Farm. The live roof material absorbs rainwater and helps reduce storm water runoff. The vegetation also helps to heat and cool the building and acts as a protective layer -- extending the life of the roof. Today, staff and students are in the planning stages for two additional green roof projects on the West Lafayette campus.
A self-guided tour of the campus storm water projects is available in a PDF file at www.purdue.edu/sustainability/greenweek/Water_walk.pdf.
For a list of water tips, visit www.purdue.edu/sustainability/pages/tips.htm.