Improving water, drop by drop

Photo of students stenciling campus storm drains.

Cars need oil and gas to run. Life needs water to run.

That pretty much makes H20 the world’s most important resource.

Students at UW-Green Bay are working to protect water resources by controlling pollution found in stormwater runoff.

Graduate students in an environmental capstone course are helping write the campus stormwater permit, stenciling storm drains to remind passersby to not dump pollutants in them, and educating the campus about the importance of removing pollutants from runoff before it enters water systems.

“Non-point-source pollution coming from stormwater is a major issue for our environment today,” said Environmental Science and Policy graduate student Lindsay Calvert.

See the video for more.

Video Transcript

UW-Green Bay Capstone Project
Stormwater Management on Campus

Lindsay Calvert
Environmental Science and Policy Graduate Program

Stormwater management is crucial because there are so many issues related to it that affect the environment. Stormwater is originally a system built to handle flooding in urban areas because of all the impervious surfaces we have. But now, all the impervious surfaces, they’ve got heavy metals, they’ve got oil contamination, we’ve got fertilizers, and all of these are building up in our water supply because we’ve had to deal with the flooding issues. So, fixing one problem is just creating another one. Non-point-source pollution coming from stormwater is a major issue for our environment today.

Prof. Patricia Terry
Environmental Science and Policy

We have another group of the Environmental Science and Policy graduate students in the Capstone course at UW-Green Bay and they’re working on a project to reduce the impact of stormwater that falls on or flows over the campus and is eventually discharged to the bay of Green Bay.

We have students doing a number of things. Right now, they’re going to give the University some design ideas for rain gardens and the types of plants we would want to put in them, and some pretty specific designs for how to use permeable pavements. But it’s up to the University and facilities to be able to implement those. In the meantime there’s an educational component to this project because it’s actually helping the University write a stormwater permit that needs to be done for the Department of Natural Resources.

Lindsay Calvert

What we’re doing as a group is, we’re actually engaging in some education and outreach activities. We did a project with Ronnie the Raindrop, our chosen representative for this project, where we did stenciling and we did a number of other awareness activities, tabling and that kind of thing. We’re also going into classrooms, into individual classes to talk to them about what stormwater is and what some of the issues are related to it so that we get some more direct time with the students to raise this as an issue.

Traditional stormwater management basically routs water as quickly as possible from inhabited areas to a water body, where it’s gone, (and) it’s not an issue for us. Some of the alternative stormwater management practices are based on slowing the water down so that sediments can drop out of it, so that contamination has a chance to get filtered out by plants or by other means. The alternative is basically, it’s a slower method using some of our natural resources to improve our stormwater quality.

UW-Green Bay Environmental Science and Policy


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