The University was recently one of four local universities selected to
receive grants from the Environmental Protection Agency to do research
to help the Philadelphia area swiftly move towards Green
Infrastructure in its “Green City, Clean Waters” plan.
The EPA awarded the University with a one million dollar grant for
stormwater management research initiatives.  The EPA award was
effective Sept. 1, 2013, and the project will run through Aug. 28,
The Principal Investigator of the project is Robert Traver, a
professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering on campus.  Traver
also acts as director of the Villanova Center for the Advancement of
Sustainability in Engineering with associate professors Andrea Welker
and Bridget Wadzuk. The group also works with members of the
Philadelphia Water Department and faculty members from Temple and
Morgan State Universities.
The University has been highly regarded as a leader in green
infrastructure both domestically and internationally for the past 10
to 15 years.
The University works hard to include undergraduate and graduate
students in their research efforts, creating research that is studied
by local high schools, other Universities and even organizations
Some of the University’s innovation in green infrastructure include
various rain gardens around campus. These rain gardens help to absorb
water was opposed to allowing the storm water to immediately enter
sewage systems.
The grant awarded to the University was also awarded to Temple
University, Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania.
Each of the universities will receive one million dollars, along with
the University of New Hampshire who will receive $993,000 to help
assess projects and suggest possible improvements to them.
“The goal of our grant is to maximize the efficiency and robustness of
green infrastructure being used to implement the PWD’s Office of
Watersheds Green City Clean water initiative.”
“Personally, I am thrilled to partner with the PWD on this project,”
Traver said. “PWD is a leader, and I expect to learn as much from them
as I hope they do from our work.”
Philadelphia is highly regarded as the leader in this type of
research, however the city has one of the oldest sewer systems in the
During large storms, it has been shown that sewage enters the same
pipes as storm water creating a type of combined storage. This causes
problem for notable bodies of water in the Philadelphia area such as
the Delaware River.
There was a ceremony Tuesday, Jan. 28 at the Fairmont Water Works with
University President Rev. Peter Donahue, O.S.A. and Mayor Nutter in
The University and other local institutions are working to prevent
this problem from occurring. The plan is to create ways to stop storm
water and reduce the volume that enters directly into sewers. Adding
porous pavements in alleys or rain gardens in the local area could
help this process.
Traver has been studying storm water education for years at various
sites on campus and will assess their current performance. He hopes to
develop new designs for the next generation.


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