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Sustainable Stormwater Management as an Opportunity for Campus and Community-based Engineering Education

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Introducing Sustainability into Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1361.1 - 22.1361.10



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Paper Authors


David Brandes Lafayette College, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

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David Brandes is Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Lafayette College where he teaches courses on fluid mechanics, water resources engineering, hydrology, environmental engineering, and sustainability. His research areas include impacts of suburbanization on streamflow, hydraulics of stormwater outflow structures, water quality assessment, and simulating eagle migration patterns based on fluid flow principles. His work has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation of Natural Resources. He serves on the Watershed Advisory Board of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and on the Board of the Bushkill Stream Conservancy.

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Sustainable Stormwater Management as an Opportunity for Community-based Engineering Education D Brandes Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering Acopian Engineering Center Lafayette College, Easton, PA 18042Low-impact “best management practices” have become the state-of-the-art in stormwatercontrol over the past decade, and cities such as Philadelphia and New York are increasinglylooking to green infrastructure as part of the solution to their sewer overflow problems. Bestmanagement practices can be considered sustainable in that they seek to mimic natural orpredevelopment site hydrology, provide islands of green space in urban environments,improve runoff quality, and capture and use a resource that is otherwise squandered. Becausecollege and university campuses were largely developed prior to the implementation ofordinances requiring such practices, there exists a unique opportunity for incorporating on-campus retrofit projects into civil and environmental engineering curricula, and in the process,doing sustainable development in way that tangibly connects to the student experience. Thispaper will describe a case study at Lafayette College in which civil and environmentalengineering students in a variety of classes over five years conceptualized, designed, helped toconstruct, and now monitor a stormwater detention wetland near campus. The objective of theproject was two-fold: (1) to address an existing runoff problem that was degrading a high-quality stream in the local community, and (2) to involve undergraduate students in an integralway in data collection, conceptual design, and performance monitoring. The importance ofongoing partnerships with the local municipality, watershed advocacy organizations, andpracticing engineers is emphasized as key to sustaining multiple-year real-world projects withundergraduates. Qualitative assessment suggests the project was highly motivational to somestudents; however, a drawback is that a given group of students only experienced a portion ofthe overall project. Current seniors (class of 2011) who are contributing by monitoringperformance of the wetland are now also in the process of developing a “sustainablestormwater management plan” for the college that will highlight five priority retrofit projectson campus.

Brandes, D. (2011, June), Sustainable Stormwater Management as an Opportunity for Campus and Community-based Engineering Education Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18674

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