EPA RainWorks Challenge contenders test best stormwater management practices

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency; CP staff

Open for registration throughout September, EPA’s fourth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge compels undergraduate and graduate students to design green infrastructure systems to reduce stormwater pollution. Such systems include permeable pavement materials, rain-harvesting vessels and vegetated green roofs. Along with companion practices, EPA notes, they decrease pollution to local waterways by treating rain where it falls and keeping polluted stormwater from entering sewer systems; increase economic activity, neighborhood revitalization, job creation, and open space; and, reduce local water infrastructure burden, urban heat island effect and energy consumption.

Working with a faculty advisor, RainWorks student teams will propose green infrastructure projects for their campuses, demonstrating how managing stormwater at its source can benefit communities and the environment. Registrants must submit entries by December 18, and winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2016. Each first-place team will earn a student prize of $2,000 divided evenly among student team members and a faculty prize of $3,000 to support green infrastructure research or training. Second-place teams will win $1,000 for student teams and $2,000 for faculty research.

Since 2012, more than 350 student teams have participated in RainWorks. The competition raises awareness of green infrastructure on college campuses, trains the next generation of professionals on green infrastructure principles, and fosters interdisciplinary collaboration, notes EPA, which views stormwater as one of the nation’s most significant water quality challenges. — www.epa.gov/campusrainworks