Dr. McPhillips taught a new graduate course, CE/ABE 597: Urban hydrology and biogeochemistry, this spring 2019.
As part of the course, we partnered with the State College Borough. This partnership was facilitated by PennState’s Sustainable Communities Collaborative. The partnership was spurred by State College’s need for information about water quality performance of their stormwater management facilities.
For this class, we focused on collecting some preliminary data from the constructed wetland on Walnut Run in Walnut Springs Park. Walnut Run drains roughly half of State College and thus has a fairly urban catchment. The stream daylights at the start of the park, near University Drive and Easterly Parkway.
The class measured flow rate and pollutant concentrations at several points in the wetland and the adjoining stream in March 2019. They presented the results at a poster expo in April 2019 hosted by the Sustainable Communities Collaborative and earned a 3rd place prize.
The wetland does appear to be helping reduce nitrate concentrations in the stream water, but we will have summer undergraduate researchers continuing this work with more rigorous storm sampling throughout the summer.