Students, faculty and staff from the School of Engineering, College of Arts and Sciences, and Albert Schweitzer Institute rolled up their sleeves to install a rain garden and a berm to help absorb water runoff before it reaches the Mill River and storm drains.
“This is the realization of a dream I had when I started as executive director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute more than three years ago,” said Sean Duffy, who also served as the co-chair of the sustainability planning committee.
“With climate change, our region will get many more heavy rainfall events and so we will need to figure out what to do with the water before it goes into the storm drains and overwhelms the system,” he said. “If we overwhelm the sewers with rainwater, that’s going to overwhelm sewage treatment facilities and all that water will get flushed out into the Sound. If we can hold the water here without having it run into the sewage system, it actually will help us adjust for what is coming.”
The positive impact of the rain garden will be felt for miles, explained Courtney McGinnis, professor of biology.
“Keeping the pollutants out of the water will benefit the animals and organisms that are right here, as well as downstream — which is considerable since we are pretty upstream on this river,” she said.