$60,000 grant to protect waterways

The construction management department recently received a $60,000 grant from Walmart to educate students on preventing storm water runoff from damaging waterways.

The grant extends over five years and is in response to the need to educate students on the Clean Water Act and the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan. The construction management department is to give a report of how it uses the grant.

“Part of [the Act] talked about when you have new construction, you don’t want any of the dirt that you generate to run off into the creek, because then it will silt up and damage the waterway,” said Jim Caldwell, professor of engineering and construction management. “You have to contain that; that’s why on these projects you’ll see silt fences, berms.”

The Environmental Protection Agency enforces strict regulations and hefty fines on construction management companies who fail to protect waterways.

With the grant money, the construction management department is making an outdoor lab by putting a privacy fence around one acre of land by the radio tower.

“It is an area where we can do demonstrations on storm water management,” said Caldwell.

The money also goes to provide educational resources, which include case-study blueprints, as well as training, plans and specifications.

Logan Willard, a junior construction management major, said last spring a guest speaker came to his Construction Management II class as part of the grant. Roger Lein, a civil engineer from Walmart spent several periods with the class, explaining the intricacies of implementing a protection plan.

Through the blueprints provided by the grant, Willard learned the required annotations for storm water drainage and gained an understanding of the different products and how they are used to protect the environment.

Willard learned from Lein what an environmental inspection looks like and the basic procedures of watershed protection.

He also learned that, “The EPA is a much bigger concern to companies than [Occupational Safety and Health Administration]. The fines are so much larger.”