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Expanding the Presence of Stormwater Management in Undergraduate Civil Engineering

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Research Experience in Stormwater Management

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.567.1 - 24.567.16



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Paper Authors


Aimee S. Navickis-Brasch Gonzaga University

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Aimee Navickis-Brasch is a registered professional engineer with over 20 years of practitioner experience in hydraulic and stormwater engineering. The majority of her career was spent working for WSDOT headquarters' Hydraulics and Stormwater Office, where she was responsible for providing statewide support, including design, research, training, and policy development. Aimee currently is pursuing a Ph.D. in civil engineering at the University of Idaho with an emphasis in stormwater management and engineering education. She received her bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Gonzaga University and a master of science degree in civil engineering from Washington State University. She is also an adjunct member of the civil engineering faculty at Gonzaga University, where she teaches stormwater management and senior design.

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Noel E. Bormann P.E. Gonzaga University

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Professor of Civil Engineering.

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Sue L. Niezgoda P.E. Gonzaga University

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Dr. Niezgoda is an associate professor of civil engineering at Gonzaga University. She has a doctorate in civil engineering from Penn State University and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Wyoming. She conducts research in the areas of engineering education, hydraulic engineering, soil erosion and sediment transport, river engineering/stream restoration, and uncertainty and risk assessment for stream restoration design. Dr. Niezgoda recently developed a risk-benefit assessment method for use in improving the design of stream restoration projects and is actively working to develop it into a tool for practitioner use. Dr. Niezgoda is actively involved in the ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute, holding officer positions in committees under the Urban Water Resources Research Council (Urban Streams Committee), and the Hydraulics and Waterways Council (River Restoration Committee, Urban Stream Restoration Task Committee, and River Restoration Educational Materials Task Committee). As part of her committee tasks, Dr. Niezgoda is working with others to form a consensus on the state of the art in stream restoration education (establishing a body of knowledge for the practice of stream restoration) and the potential for national certification. Dr. Niezgoda is also a member of the Board of Directors of River Restoration Northwest, and is the invited speaker coordinator and session-and-abstract coordinator for the annual Northwest Stream Restoration Symposium.

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Matt Zarecor Spokane County Stormwater Utility

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Spokane County Stormwater Utility Manager

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Expanding the Presence of Stormwater Management in Undergraduate Civil EngineeringStormwater management is a rapidly changing field becoming more complex as the NationalPollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) expands to include more stringentrequirements and smaller cities. Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declaredunmanaged stormwater the most significant threat to surface water bodies and estimated anational investment of over $100 billion is necessary to manage stormwater and preservereceiving surface water quality. Considering an investment of this size could create 1.9 millionjobs, the anticipated demand for engineers with stormwater management skills is high. However,few undergraduate programs offer classes focused on stormwater management. Instead, mostundergraduate programs place the foundation and theory for stormwater managementapplications in traditional Civil Engineering courses such as water resources, hydrology, openchannel flow, and environmental engineering. To provide engineering graduates with both asolid foundation in engineering analysis as well as a practical application of that knowledge, it isdesirable to create a pathway for students to develop stormwater engineering skills byparticipating in real projects.A promising approach is to provide students a significant project experience through partnershipbetween engineering educators, students and municipalities regulated under a NPDESstormwater permit. In particular, many permittees are required to monitor the effectiveness ofstructural best management practices (BMPs) to meet water quality and quantity requirements.Because the majority of stormwater funding involves investments from municipalities, many ofwhom are already financially constrained, student monitoring could mutually benefit universitiesby providing students with an experiential learning experience as well as an incentive formunicipalities to reduce costs associated with permit compliance by participating in jointprojects. This paper describes a multi-year case study focused on expanding learningopportunities for students to develop stormwater engineering skills through a partnershipbetween a university and a municipality of 240,000 people. The project starts as a capstonedesign course with students designing a best management practice (BMP) monitoring system andpreparing technical documentation consistent with EPA requirements for stormwatermanagement projects across the country. After the design is complete, the BMP monitoringsystem will be constructed on campus and monitored by students as part of the requirements forother civil engineering courses.This project started in the fall of 2013 and the case study provides an overview of the projectorganization relative to the municipality, students, and university as well as the consensus for theobjectives which include; 1) developing a partnership with the university and municipality tosupport educational outcomes as well as meet NPDES requirements; 2) arranging the capstonedesign course objectives to fulfill ABET requirements while providing students with anincreased opportunity to gain experience in the engineering skills common to stormwaterpractitioners; 3) plans for integrating future BMP monitoring into other civil engineering courseobjectives and further expand stormwater learning opportunities for students. The effectivenessof this joint effort will be evaluated by questioning participants about how well stormwaterengineering practitioner skills can support the wider learning objectives and ABET goals- whileat the same time provide a cost effective method for the municipality to meet NPDES permitrequirements and serve as an incentive to participate in similar future projects.

Navickis-Brasch, A. S., & Bormann, N. E., & Niezgoda, S. L., & Zarecor, M. (2014, June), Expanding the Presence of Stormwater Management in Undergraduate Civil Engineering Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20458

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