From the bio-infiltration traffic island and green roof to the pervious concrete and porous asphalt, the stormwater best management practices (BMPs) on the campus of Villanova University have proven to be successful mechanisms for mitigating the effects of urban stormwater runoff. In recent months, researchers in the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership (VUSP) have been investigating why these green infrastructures are working successfully so that they can take steps to further improve the BMPs’ performance.
To help VUSP researchers achieve that goal, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Coastal Resources Management Program has awarded a $30,000 grant to faculty in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering to focus on the unit processes within the constructed stormwater wetland (CSW), which is located in the northeast region of campus. Over the next 18 months, they will monitor the flow and water quality—in this case, the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and total suspended solids—of the CSW, seeking answers to questions such as, what are the mechanisms causing water quality improvement? What biological and chemical reactions are taking place?
“Our goal is not only to come up with predictions for what kind of water quality improvement one can expect from the CSW, but also to improve the design and make it a more efficient system,” said Dr. Bridget Wadzuk CE ’00, who, along with Dr. Robert Traver, PE, MCE ’82, professor and VUSP director, was the principal investigator on the proposal. “If we know more about the science behind these BMPs, we can improve the state of the technology.” A graduate student will assist Drs. Wadzuk and Traver on the project.
Established in 2002, the VUSP is dedicated to advancing the field of sustainable stormwater management and to fostering the development of public and private partnerships through research on innovative stormwater BMPs, directed studies, technology transfer, and education.