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Storm water management program progresses

By Scott Yates, Media Relations

UNH is in the second year of a five-year plan to stop pollutants from entering the university storm water drainage system.

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) and Facilities Management have been working together to create an up-to-date storm water sewer system drainage map of the campus in compliance with the EPA Storm Water regulations.

In addition, OEHS has partnered with the UNH Computing and Information Services Department and the Seacoast Storm Water Coalition to create two educational videos on storm water run-off. The UNH Center for Stormwater Technology Evaluation and Verification (CSTEV) is working on two field projects of interest to UNH that seek to treat and minimize storm water at the source, rather than after it is collected and channeled into the sewer system.

The purpose of the University’s Storm Water Management Program is to target and prevent potential sources of intentional and unintentional discharges of pollutants into surface waters. The six specific parts of the plan include: 1) public education and outreach, 2) public participation and involvement, 3) illicit discharge detection and elimination, 4) construction site runoff control, 5) post-construction runoff control, and 6) pollution prevention and good housekeeping.

One project included in the plan aims to mark “catchments” prone to pollution. A catchment is any receptacle that receives water runoff, including lawn drains, trenches, building drains, inverted drains (the round and square ones on roads and walkways) and terrace drainage basins. Round metal plaques, about the circumference of a golf hole, will be screwed or glued to the grates of all catchments whose fallout goes directly to a significant body of water like Oyster River, Little Bay or Great Bay. The plaques will display a message—“No Dumping, Drains To Bay,” to remind the campus community that what we do in our environment affects ocean life.

“There are some (catchments) that receive many non-point pollutants such as oil, sand, and cigarette butts,” said Bradford Manning, director of OEHS. “Those are the ones we need to concentrate on to make sure they are cleaned regularly,” he said.
“We’re working with Facilities to identify our storm water problems and solve them,” said David Gillum, OEHS laboratory safety officer.

To assist OEHS with satisfying the EPA requirements for the Illicit Detection and Elimination (IDDE) minimum control measure, Peter Tardie, the Spatial Information Systems (SIS) manager for Facilities Information Technology and his team, successfully mapped the storm water drainage distribution network. This resulted in the field acquisition of more than 700 catchments and 250 outfalls within the UNH campus covering an area of over 1,100 acres.

“This is a collective effort between OEHS and Facilities,” said Tardie. “We are harnessing the diverse SIS mapping capabilities for current or future campus projects such as these.”

In addition to GIS data collection, the UNH Storm Water Management Program prohibits the intentional or improper dumping or draining of a substance into the storm water drainage system.
“Most people think that the storm water runoff feeds into a sanitary sewer facility and is treated, but it is not,” said Manning.

OEHS and Facilities have been conducting dry weather inspections of the drainage system’s outfalls. In addition, two educational videos were produced, one to help the seacoast community identify pollution sources and prevent them, and the second directed at the university community. Also, an informational brochure was distributed to the campus community and posters displayed in the MUB where students spend time.

In June, the CSTEV completed construction of a porous pavement parking area at the West Edge Lot to treat and minimize storm water at the source.

“We are all working together to provide a solution to real world problems,” Tardie said.

 


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