The UNH Stormwater Center is a dynamic research, testing and educational facility which serves as a technical resource for water managers, planners, and design engineers in New England and throughout the United States.
Background and Mission
Under the Clean Water Act Phase II rules, the Environmental Protection Agency requires local governments to develop stormwater programs. In response, many organizations have or are now developing plans and actions to achieve desirable water quality and storm volume reduction. Although many of the stormwater management strategies are based on sound theory, there is no requirement that they undergo independent, third-party scientific testing. A three-year study of nine seacoast sites in New Hampshire clearly showed that traditional stormwater technologies failed in reducing at least one water quality parameter two-thirds of the time. The National Research Council recently noted that increasing urbanization has resulted in degradation of water quality and habitat in virtually every urban stream system. The report recommends, among other items, additional research on the relevant hydrologic and water quality processes within stormwater control measures.
The UNH Stormwater Center is dedicated to the protection of water resources through effective stormwater management. The primary functions of the center are twofold: (i) Research and development of stormwater treatment systems, (ii) To provide resources to the stormwater management community currently challenged by the effective design and implementation of required stormwater management.
Outreach and Technical Training
The close proximity of the field testing facility to UNH enables the Center to offer technology demonstrations and workshops, as well as specialized training opportunities. Current outreach initiatives include field facility workshops that have drawn more than 1,700 participants over the last four years; a specialty workshop on porous pavements, a technical training available nationwide in 2009; and a range of publications and web products. The Stormwater Center develops and distributes outreach products including a biannual Data Report on stormwater system performance, workshop curriculum materials, fact sheets, and numerous power point presentations, as well as links to other stormwater-related resources. The performance data released by the Center has been used in presentations by numerous other entities (e.g. EPA BMP DSS Model, EPA Green Infrastructure Webcast March 3, 2009), and as a basis for developing regulations and guidance in several states (e.g. MA, NH, RI).
Stormwater Technology Testing
The Stormwater Center’s field site is a unique technical resource for stormwater practitioners and is unlike any other stormwater research site in the country. The site is designed to allow direct, side-by-side comparison of different technologies. Satellite research sites are used to test several additional treatment technologies, including different types of porous pavements. To date, the research facility has collected detailed performance data on over 80 storms, and has evaluated over 30 different types of stormwater treatment systems.
The UNH Stormwater Center conducts independently funded research which complements and expands the base technology research. Individual competitive project grants have been awarded by the EPA, NOAA, the New Hampshire Estuaries Project, New Hampshire Sea Grant, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and industry associations.
Design and Implementation
The Center actively participates in the design and implementation of advanced stormwater management. The Center works with public and commercial partners in the design and install of Low Impact Development technologies. These activities include design, review, construction oversight, and providing guidance for long-term maintenance. Many of these projects can be viewed under Recent Projects.
Basic, continuing funding is provided by the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Other specific funding has been provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the NH Department of Environmental Services, Maine Department of Transportation, the New Hampshire Estuaries Project, New Hampshire Sea Grant, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and industry associations (Northern New England Concrete Promotion Association, North East Cement Shippers Association). Funding has also been provided for testing from manufacturers of the various systems tested.