CCNY Team Scoops EPA RainWorks Challenge
An interdisciplinary team of City College of New York students including MLA first-year Uziel Crescenzi is the winner of The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s fifth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge. Tasked with designing an innovative green infrastructure project that effectively manages stormwater runoff while benefiting the campus community and environment, the City College team devised the "Castor Project" (CP). The CP design presents a climate-informed, optimal system for campus-wide stormwater management and gives options to reduce stormwater runoff between 10% and 20% and increases permeable area from 8% to 9-10%. The CP includes an educational component to teach college and high school students about stormwater and water conservation. This plan signifies a step forward in improving stormwater management for New York City and campus sustainability for CCNY. The project got its name from the scientific term for the beaver (Castor canadesis), CCNY’s mascot. Taking a cue from the beaver’s role as a natural water manager, the team designed a master plan for campus-wide stormwater management. The plan calls for increasing tree canopy 15%, by adding 89 trees, and decreasing impervious area 38%, by adding 23,000 square feet of permeable surface. A water storage tank could capture up to 3,000 cubic feet of stormwater for gray-water usage. The other students, from the Grove School of Engineering and the Division of Humanities and the Arts, are Agata Bugala, environmental engineering; Alexander Fenichell, environmental engineering; Deanna Greene, advertising and public relations; and Lawrence Vulis, environmental engineering. Naresh Devineni and Krish Ramalingam from the department of civil engineering served as faculty advisors. Team leader Lawrence Vulis is also a NOAA-CREST intern, and Prof. Naresh Devineni is a faculty affiliate of NOAA-CREST. Green infrastructure strategies use or mimic natural processes--vegetation, soils, and rainwater harvesting--to reduce or eliminate stormwater runoff, help maintain water quality, and create healthier urban environments.