Dec. 5, 2015 07:51

Scientists Receive Funding for Stormwater Research

Thanks to a two-year grant worth more than $400,000, researchers at the University of Delaware will be able to investigate ways to better manage stormwater runoff. Funded in part by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, the team will research the uses of biochar in infiltration, water and nutrient retention, and soil transformation. Biochar is a porous charcoal-like substance created by thermochemical decomposition of biological materials.

Paul Imhoff, professor of environmental engineering at UD, said that the team will test the impact of biochar in highway greenways. Typically these greenways are hastily constructed, with vegetation growing from shallow root structures, resulting in runoff and poor water retention. “We think that amending soils with biochar will lead to significant increases in water retention, slowing down the movement of stormwater,” said Imhoff.

Over a period of 18 months, the team will also study biochar’s influence on a filter strip and a drainage ditch in Middletown, Delaware. Restoration of greenways “will reduce the need to purchase additional rights-of-way for stormwater treatment and cut design and installation costs,” said Imhoff.

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In many ways, we are fortunate that, in our chosen profession, we are able to help people when certain disasters occur: the tornadoes in Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Georgia, the flooding in Louisiana, the snows in the northeastern part of the country, the rain in California, and the snow in Colorado....

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