A group of Cal Poly Pomona students has received an honorable mention from the Environmental Protection Agency for a concept they developed to control water pollution through landscaping.
As rainwater makes its way from the clouds to the ground, and then along streams and waterways on its way to the ocean, it picks up a variety of pollutants from sources such as agriculture and automobiles. The presence of paved surfaces makes the problem worse by allowing storm runoff to flow quickly toward the sea without soaking into the ground, a process that also depletes local aquifers.
The EPA’s Campus RainWorks Challenge asked university students to think about what could be done on their campuses to reduce polluted runoff. Landscape architecture graduate students Carlos Flores, Hieu Nguyen, and Elena Tucci, along with Professor Weimin Li, developed a concept that would place a series of ponds, wetlands and bioswales (artificial streams) across the campus. New pathways would guide pedestrians and bicyclists through the semi-natural area as they make their way onto campus.
The winners of the challenge were:
- University of Florida, Gainesville — first place, large institution
- Illinois Institute of Technology — first place, small institution
- Missouri University of Science and Technology — second place, large institution
- University of Arizona, Tucson — second place, small institution
Other campuses receiving honorable mentions are Kansas State University, Columbia University and University of Texas-Arlington.