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Growing Greener Grant Continues Support of Villanova’s Campus Stormwater Efforts

Dr. Bridget Wadzuk

The Wolf Administration has announced grant funding for three projects in Delaware County to study, manage and reduce stormwater runoff. Funded through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Resources Council, Inc., Newtown Township, and Villanova University will receive a collective total of $332,328 in grant funding to focus on innovative techniques and initiatives to address stormwater.

“Whether it’s a rain barrel, a garden designed by an engineer, or state of the art research, every effort makes a difference when it comes to stormwater”, said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “There is no effort too small or ambition too high in addressing one of the biggest challenges facing our urban environments.”

 Villanova University will use $162,896 in Growing Greener funds to utilize existing stormwater facilities on campus to quantitatively research and evaluate stormwater collection and reuse techniques. The project is led by Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Bridget Wadzuk, PhD, and co-PI Ali Ebrahimian, PhD, a research professor in the department. “Villanova’s Urban Stormwater Partnership has had a 20-year relationship with the PADEP—they were one of our founding members—and this latest grant demonstrates their continued confidence in VUSP’s work,” says Dr. Wadzuk.

Villanova’s first stormwater control measure test site was built on campus in 1998. Now, two decades later, more than a dozen test sites are actively being monitored in VUSP’s Stormwater Control Measure Research and Demonstration Park, which include several types of SCMs: a stormwater wetland, bio-infiltration and bio-retention rain gardens and swales, pervious concrete / porous asphalt installations, infiltration trenches, and a green roof. These initiatives have decreased stormwater runoff and added significant educational value to the research being conducted in the College of Engineering. Additionally, the results of this research and the knowledge it brings is being shared externally in ways that benefit society at large.

Growing Greener is the largest single investment of state funds in Pennsylvania's history to address Pennsylvania's critical environmental concerns of the 21st century.  The grant program is supported by the Environmental Stewardship Fund, which receives its funding from landfill tipping fees.

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