T-VSSI Sponsors a "Day of Stormwater" at Villanova

Whether it results from a passing thunderstorm or a raging hurricane, stormwater poses a major problem in urbanized areas: it hits the ground running—and keeps on running. Coursing over sidewalks, roads, and other impervious surfaces, stormwater runoff collects pollutants, sediment, and debris and carries these substances into receiving water bodies instead of seeping into the ground or evaporating.

It is not surprising, then, that representatives from government, industry, and academia, as well as interested citizens, gathered at Villanova University on Thursday, August 14, to be apprised of the latest research into stormwater "best management practices" (BMPs).

The "Day of Stormwater" began with a seminar sponsored by the Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative (T-VSSI). This collaboration combines the strengths of two research centers: the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership (VUSP) and Temple’s Center for Sustainable Communities (CSC). Addressing an audience that included engineers, planners, and municipal managers, researchers described what lessons they have learned and how those lessons can be applied to BMP inspection and monitoring programs.

Dr. Robert Traver, Director of VUSP, summed up the importance of inspection and monitoring in one word: sustainability. "When we talk about sustainability, we mean 'a long time.' You don't just install a system and then forget about it. That's why inspection and monitoring have become a part of our conversation."

After the presentations, the audience toured Villanova's Stormwater BMP Demonstration and Research Park, which was built in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Villanova. Sites included

  • a green roof
  • an infiltration trench
  • pervious concrete and porous asphalt
  • a bioinfiltration traffic island
  • a constructed stormwater wetland

In the afternoon, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA, 7th Dist.) hosted a watershed management and emergency preparedness summit in the Connelly Center. In his opening remarks, Congressman Sestak noted the importance of bringing together Villanova University and other centers of excellence concerned about these issues. During the three-hour session, experts—including Dr. Traver and representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and the EPA—offered their insights and fielded questions from the audience.