EPA recognizes University of Pittsburgh with RainWorks award for green infrastructure project
WASHINGTON (April 28, 2021) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that the University of Pittsburgh has received a Campus RainWorks Challenge award in a national competition that engages college students in the design of on-campus green infrastructure solutions to address stormwater pollution.
The University of Pittsburgh received 2nd place in the Master Plan Category for its “Team PreciPITTation” project that integrated green infrastructure practices into a master plan design that focused on eliminating combined sewer overflows.
“The creative and scientific minds of students stand out in this competition that creates dynamic ideas on how to address complex stormwater issues,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Acting Regional Administrator Diana Esher. “I’d like to congratulate the students at the University of Pittsburgh who developed this project that incorporates innovative solutions that will help protect human health and the environment.”
Students engaged with internal and external stakeholders to create a design that would manage stormwater runoff and reduce flooding while creating safe, multifunctional spaces accessible to students and the greater Pittsburgh community. Aspects of their plan included incorporating green roofs, permeable pavement, rain gardens and stormwater tree pit. Watch the team’s video about their project: https://youtu.be/2E0loZa490Q
Stormwater runoff is a significant source of water pollution and remains a complex environmental challenge for communities across the country.
EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge asks students and faculty members at colleges and universities to apply green infrastructure design principles, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and increase the use of green infrastructure on the nation’s college campuses. Since 2012 more than 700 teams have participated in the challenge.
In this year’s challenge, EPA invited student teams to compete in two design categories: the Master Plan category, which examines how green infrastructure can be broadly integrated across campus, and the Demonstration Project category, which focuses on how green infrastructure can address stormwater pollution at a specific site on campus or local elementary, junior high, or high schools.
Green infrastructure tools and techniques for stormwater management include green roofs, permeable materials, alternative designs for streets and buildings, trees, habitat conservation, rain gardens and rain harvesting systems. Utilizing these tools decreases pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems. Communities are increasingly using innovative green infrastructure to supplement “gray” infrastructure such as pipes, filters and ponds. Green infrastructure reduces water pollution while increasing economic activity and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, energy savings and open space.
First place teams will receive a $7,000 student prize to be split among team members and a $3,000 faculty prize to support green infrastructure research and training. Second place teams will receive a $3,500 student prize and a $1,500 faculty prize. Since 2012 more than 750 teams have participated in the challenge.
For more information and a list of all winners, visit: https://www.epa.gov/green-infrastructure/campus-rainworks-challenge-0
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