September 11, 2008
Sustainable stormwater modifications update part of Green WeekWEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - An update on a project to enhance Purdue's stormwater stewardship through the installation of sustainable solutions on the West Lafayette campus will be among the first-day highlights of Green Week.
The university plans to invest more than $6 million on sustainable stormwater improvements and wellhead protection at the West Lafayette campus.
Representatives of Meliora Environmental Design and Andropogon Associates will provide an overview on the future of Purdue stormwater management. The event, free and open to the public, will be at 10 a.m. in Stewart Center, Room 206.
Purdue's Green Week runs from Sept. 15-19. For a complete schedule of Green Week events, go to http://www.purdue.edu/green .
Meliora Environmental Design and Andropogon Associates were recently awarded a contract to evaluate Purdue's existing stormwater management plan and site conditions and to provide recommendations for the implementation of best management practices. For every recommended improvement, the firms also will provide a cost-benefit analysis.
Purdue recently approved the selection of engineers for the campuswide Sustainable Stormwater Modifications Design, which, along with the boiler and high-voltage projects, is part of the long-term Strategic Infrastructure Improvements Initiative.
A wellhead protection area safeguards Purdue's groundwater-sourced potable water supply to campus. Purdue also has its own municipal storm sewer system as co-permittees under a Clean Water Act program with the city of West Lafayette and Tippecanoe County.
This stormwater permit requires Purdue to improve stormwater treatment, and the wellhead program requires that Purdue protect its groundwater from contamination. These requirements empower Purdue to improve existing conditions and address potential problems.
Meliora and Andropogon previously worked with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a similar campuswide project and have done several individual sustainable stormwater projects at other universities, including Cornell, Clemson, Penn State, Yale and the University of Philadelphia.
Their collaboration at the University of North Carolina was so successful that they were asked to present their designs at the national Greenbuild conference in Chicago in November 2007.
Robin Ridgway, physical facilities' environmental regulatory consultant and co-chair of Purdue's Sustainability Council, said there are several benefits to what Purdue is doing.
"Sustainability is not just about the far-reaching discoveries our researchers make here every day that will have a dramatic impact on everyone's lives in the future," she said. "Sustainability is also about the here and now; the impacts in real time that have tangible and direct benefits, both economically and environmentally."
After the evaluation and recommendation phase, Meliora will create a stormwater master plan from which specific individual projects will be scheduled. Examples of improvements that could be suggested include:
* Creating rain gardens, areas in which rainwater naturally collects into small ponds that are surrounded by plants that help filter any pollutants before water drains into the ground below.
* Paving areas with porous surfaces which allow rainwater to drain into the earth while pollutants, such as oil from vehicles, remains on the surface to be removed manually.
Such improvements will become a "learning laboratory" for campus. Signage at key locations will explain how the project functions and how it benefits campus and the environment, serving as a public outreach and education tool.
Barbara Mansfield, capital project manager in Purdue's office of the university architect, said that she will take names and e-mail addresses of those who want to receive project updates as the study recommendations are implemented. Anyone unable to attend the overview program who wishes to be included in the updates can contact Mansfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ridgway said she hopes that the projects together reach the same standing as the university's work with preserving trees, to the point of anticipating a self-guided stormwater tour opportunity comparable to Purdue's self-guided tree tour.
Writer: Greg McClure, (765) 494-9394, email@example.com
Sources: Robin Ridgway, (765) 496-6405, firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Mansfield, (765) 496-7389, email@example.com
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; firstname.lastname@example.org
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