targets pollutants in university storm water system
John Reed, Media Relations
of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) has begun
a five-year process to stop pollutants from entering the university
storm water drainage system.
The project is meant to comply with Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) regulations requiring all metropolitan areas of
100,000 people or more to eliminate nonpoint surface pollution
of their storm water drainage systems.
The town of Durham and UNH are part of the Portsmouth-Dover Metropolitan
In recent years, pollutants such as motor oils, detergents, road
sand and salt and cigarette butts flowing into storm drains have
become the leading polluter of surface water bodies in the United
States. “These are known as nonpoint pollutants because
they aren’t being directly discharged into surface waters
by municipal and industrial facilities,” said Brad Manning,
director of Environmental Health and Safety. UNH operates its
own storm water system which is composed of more than 600 catch
basins and outfalls that discharge to the College Brook, Pettee
Brook, Oyster River and Town of Durham storm water system.
To control sources of nonpoint pollution, EHS has developed a
six-point plan involving the entire UNH community.
First, EHS will focus on public education and awareness through
brochures, a Web site and marking storm water drains to “educate
people about everyday activities that can pollute surface bodies
of water, like washing a car near storm drains,” Manning
Next, EHS will focus on detection and elimination of nonpoint
surface pollution sites. “This is really the meat of the
technical part of the plan,” Manning said.
EHS will use Geographic Information System (GIS) technology housed
at the UNH Facilities Department and managed by Peter Tardie
to map campus catch basins and outfalls. “We’re using
Pete’s technology system because it is so accurate, we
wanted to use the best available,” Manning said.
Once the campus storm water system is mapped and identified,
EHS will work to identify any illicit building connections to
the system and then eliminate this connection, thus removing
a potential pollution source to the storm water system.
EHS detectives can use three methods to detect illicit connections
to the system:
can visually inspect the outfalls during the dry weather
season and look for an illicit discharge from the
a higher than normal rainy season often rules out
can pour florescent dye down individual drains in campus
buildings and look for the dye at the outfall.
technique is labor intensive.
can conduct a smoke test — pump smoke up the outfall
and see where it emerges — which is the most
effective technique. “This technique hits
the highest number of connections throughout a
whole building,” Manning said.
step in the plan is to require that all new campus construction
projects larger than
one acre conduct pre
and post construction
work to prevent nonpoint surface pollution.
Other efforts include inspecting dumpsters,
a large source of bacteria. Also, loading docks
and vehicle washing will not be allowed near
“ We want to exceed EPA regulations. We’re trying to make UNH a greener
campus,” said David Gillum, lab safety officer for EHS.
To read more about the six-point plan, or for additional information
about storm water management at UNH, please access the OEHS
Web site at http://www.unh.edu/ehs/stormwater/.