County Partners with Schools and Businesses On Stormwater Project At Perryville High
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11, 2018
ELKTON, MD. -- A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Perryville High School (PHS) recently to mark the completion of a large-scale stormwater restoration project at the school which praised the collaborations between Cecil County Department of Public Works, local businesses and the school system.
"On behalf of our students, staff and community, I want to thank the Department of Public Works for partnering with us. Throughout this entire process, they did an outstanding job of communicating their intentions while also being respectful of our school grounds and the community that it serves. Whether it was the design presentation, the time frame for the project completion, the actual work being done, or the educational benefits to our students, we were all able to work collaboratively on this project to ultimately have the job successfully completed," said Mr. Justin Zimmerman, principal at Perryville.
"One of the most signifacant things that stood out to me as this project was being presented, as well as being completed, was the positive impact it was going to have on our community and our students. Just the single creation of a stormwater retention pond, helps collect runoff with each passing storm in order to prevent flooding and downstream erosion, and help improve water quality in our streams, rivers and our Bay," Zimmerman continued.
Local contractor Mark Hudson Landscaping & Excavating, worked closely with the Stormwater Management Division to construct bioretention ponds, bioswales and a filter and treatment system on this Department of Natural Resources grant funded project. The entire process assists in reducing pollutants in the runoff from the school rooftop, parking lots, tennis courts and sports fields as is flows down and eventually reaches our waterways. PHS science students also helped prepare and construct the bioswales and then planted native plants which will, again, helps reduce water pollutants.
A large bioretention pond reconstructed on the campus which also involved a partnership with Opti, a company that focuses on delivering improved environmental outcomes for communities and businesses through continuous monitoring and adaptive control of distributed stormwater infrastructure. Opti’s products connect, manage, and operate stormwater systems at watershed scale by integrating cloud-based technology, sensors and flow controls in the field, and the weather forecast, enabling storage systems to plan, observe, and respond to storm events predictively.
Teachers can incorporate the technology provided by Opti to collect and analyze stormwater system performance metrics and offer interactive lessons utilizing visualizations and quantitative methods on the role of technology in water resources. Students can then use this technology to conduct applied research and analysis and integrate applied water resources training.
“We are proud to be a part of the local community, working with Cecil County to not only deliver improved water quality and runoff control but also provide new ways for teachers and students at Perryville High School to engage with stormwater infrastructure,” said Marcus Quigley, CEO of Opti.
The additional benefit is that the technology provided by Opti will help reduce operating and capital costs, enable environmental compliance, and reduce risk from volatile environmental conditions and uncertain future growth. "With this technology we're now capturing stormwater, treating it, slowing it down and releasing it at a very slow rate, which is good and what we want," explained Sean McCandless of the County's Stormwater Management Division.
"Several of our science classes have already been able to engage in meaningful learning experiences at both of our stormwater retention ponds. Much of this is because our teachers already understand that by having our students engage in real-world, hands-on, inquiry-based learning, they are able to form deeper understandings on the content they are learning," added Zimmerman.
STEM Academy student, Liam Allan, a junior at North East High School, took advantage of access to a stormwater project that was completed by the county earlier this spring on the campus of his school. Allan focused his Honors STEM Research and Design Capstone Project on "The effect of water filtration systems at North East High School on water quality."
Allan presented his capstone project during the Gallery Walk at Elkton High School on May 30th. He explained in his abstract: "North East High School recently underwent storm water management renovations. The newly installed subsurface gravel wetland is designed to prevent pollutants rain water runoff from entering local waterways. Samples were collected from various sections of the wetlands and tested for the presence of nitrates, phosphates, and dissolved solids. These variables were chosen because they are some of the most important indicators of water quality. The results from the testing were positive and indicated an improvement in water quality from all the variables measured."
Allan said he chose this subject for his capstone due to its relevance and importance to the community. "Being installed directly behind the school, I was able to watch as the project was completed, and I took an interest in it. Additionally, the project has great value to the community and the health of local waterways. The project has also helped me personally. Through this course, I have learned a great deal about water quality and gained a number of skills that will help me in the future," explained Allan.
"What we are celebrating is the result of the hard work of many people and many organizations that, in many cases, represent years worth of effort that culminate in the delivery of these projects," explained Scott Flanigan, Director of Public Works. "It's certainly worthy of celebration to recognize all members of the project team and their accomplishments. There is no better partner in this than Cecil County Public Schools."
The Stormwater Management Division takes an aggressive role in providing solutions that assist in improving water quality in Cecil County. Additionally, SMD focuses on educational opportunities and outreach programs and activities that benefit students and the community.
Public Information Officer