2021 Award Winners

University of Connecticut

The UConn Stormwater

The University of Connecticut Stormwater Corps combines classroom instruction, service learning, and community outreach to the benefit of the students, Connecticut communities, and local water resources. Since its inception in 2019, the program has trained 65 students who have conducted analyses for 20 municipalities, helping educate town officials about stormwater management, Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI practices), and strategies to reach their MS4 goals.

The program kicks off with a semester-long course on stormwater management and GSI, with an emphasis on practical knowledge. For instance, the students make their own pervious concrete and learn how to read site plans. They also learn about real-life challenges and solutions from guest lecturers, including town, nonprofit and private sector staff, and from the experiences of their instructors: the principals of UConn’s renowned Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) Program.

Students who choose to continue on to a second practicum semester learn through experience, conducting impervious cover reduction assessments for towns solicited through NEMO contacts and through the ongoing, statewide MS4 education and assistance program conducted by Stormwater Corps instructors. Using online imagery, topography and other mapping resources, students identify opportunities for GSI retrofits at participating municipal properties. They make site visits to assess feasibility parameters, including watershed conditions as well as cost, maintenance issues, and public education opportunities. Finally, they prepare and present a report of top-five GSI retrofit opportunities to participating town staff and officials.

The program’s success has resulted in a waiting list of interested towns, and an anticipated 4-6 projects being executed per year under the program’s current structure. The UConn Stormwater Corps helps to address the capacity gap experienced by the numerous Connecticut municipalities with little time, funds, or expertise to address priority stormwater-related tasks. 

Beyond the practices in the ground and underway, Corps-generated reports will inform and guide future GSI installations, and several towns have used them as the basis for grant proposals. Perhaps most important, participating in the program helps to educate town officials about stormwater management, GSI practices, and strategies to reach their MS4 goals. Meanwhile, the UConn Stormwater Corps contributes to the education of the next generation of environmental researchers and professionals.

Rhode Island Department of Transportation

RIDOT Old Tower Hill Road Bioretention
Curb Inlet Planters

When wear and tear on Old Tower Hill Road in South Kingstown, Rhode Island made it necessary to resurface the roadway, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) sought to incorporate improvements for safety and water quality. The department coordinated with consultants and contractors to incorporate 18 curb inlet bioretention planters, which add green, permeable space to the roadside and address primary runoff.

Old Tower Hill Road provides access between the Wakefield Mall, Wakefield Business District and US Route 1. It serves as a major commercial corridor that is integral to the future development of the Wakefield Business District and the economic well-being of the Town. As such, the road is a high-visibility and integral component of local transportation infrastructure. 

Designed in accordance with the RIDOT Linear Stormwater Manual, the roadside planters receive runoff via a curb opening into a pretreatment sediment forebay made from cobble stones. The forebay fills with stormwater before overtopping a curb weir into the planter bed. Consolidating sedimentation within the hardscaped pretreatment system allows for easy maintenance through quick sediment and debris removal, which enhances the effective design life of the downstream filter/planter bed.

This primary filtration helps to capture contaminants before stormwater reaches local water bodies while maintaining adequate permeability along the roadway. RIDOT’s bioretention planters exemplify multi-benefit green infrastructure, reducing pollutant discharge without compromising safety or aesthetics.

City of Manchester,
New Hampshire – DPW Environmental
Protection Division 

From Street to Stream
– An Integrated Holistic Approach to Stormwater System Asset Management

Under the NPDES MS4 Permit, the City of Manchester, New Hampshire, is required to implement field inspection and maintenance protocols for stormwater infrastructure, including catch basins, outfalls, and structural stormwater control measures. The City’s Department of Public Works (DPW) Environmental Protection Division (EPD) leveraged GIS and IBM’s Maximo asset management software to electronically track assets and maintenance needs.

Beyond the minimum requirements of MS4, Manchester EPD is implementing a comprehensive long-term stormwater system assessment program that includes field survey, condition assessment, compliance assessment, and GIS updates. The assessment program will be the foundation to upgrade and rebuild Manchester’s aging stormwater infrastructure that has been further stressed by recent increases in population, impervious area, and climate change-induced rain events.

Recognizing that drainage flow doesn’t necessarily end at the end of a drainage network, the division has adopted a “From Street to Stream” approach to stormwater management. EPD is considering the full lifecycle of stormwater and pollutants, including where runoff flows onto roadways, enters the MS4 system, passes through the typical drainage infrastructure network, into and out of stream channels, under roads and through culverts, all the way to receiving waterbodies.

Manchester’s unified approach links system operations, maintenance, and permit compliance together. All inspections and maintenance activities are tracked electronically using a consistent mobile interface, providing asset data in real time to prioritize needs, create work orders and a historic record of when work was performed. By investing in smart asset tracking and management programs, the EPD is laying the groundwork for a long-term, sustainable, and comprehensive stormwater management program.

Using GIS and Maximo, the division currently tracks approximately 11,300 catch basins, 650 stormwater outfalls/interconnections, 36 structural SCMs, 150 culverts, 58,000 linear feet of conveyance channels/ditches and 220 miles of pipes. EPD is also utilizing the database to document privately owned impervious surfaces and stormwater control measures to manage reporting and compliance, and identify opportunities for future improvements.