is partnering with the College of Wooster
on a plan that aims to turn the campus into a zero stormwater discharge campus, and a model for the rest of the country.
Jenna Blankenship, Executive Assistant at ABSMaterials, says they’ll use their patented Osorb technology on the project. Engineered in 2005 by Dr. Paul Edmiston, Peterson Chair of Chemistry at the College of Wooster and co-founder of ABSMaterials, Osorb is used in water treatment applications to detect and separate contaminated molecules.
“As stormwater travels, it picks up all sorts of contaminants, including oil, pesticides, nutrients, pharmaceuticals, and household chemicals,” Blankenship explains. “As a result, the surface water becomes polluted, which causes a number of problems related to water quality and algae growth.”
Blankenship believes this is an overlooked issue, ineffectively communicated to the public considering the hundreds of millions of Americans that rely on clean surface water for their drinking water, crop irrigation and recreation. “Lake Erie, for example, provides drinking water for almost 12 million people […] but around 5 billion gallons of untreated water is discharged to the lake every year.”
ABSMaterials previously worked with the College of Wooster in 2011. A field site was constructed with an Osorb rain garden and a control garden, funded by the National Science Foundation. Blankenship counts that prior relationship as key to developing this new project, noting they recently completed a site survey to select areas where stormwater systems should be built on campus.
“The areas selected are places where there is excess stormwater runoff that needs to be managed,” she says. “We will submit a final outline of the plan to the College in February, and construction should begin a little later in the year.”
Source: Jenna Blankenship
Writer: Joe Baur