It is no secret that rain has become a common occurrence here on campus. In the past six months we’ve seen 33.5 inches of rain, over a 910-acre campus, which is enough water to fill 1254 Olympic sized swimming pools! No matter how you put it, it’s a lot of water. To manage the almost 3 feet of rain that has fallen on the campus over the past 6 months, the Stormwater Management team of Facilities Services has been busy making sure all grates, inlets, drains and infrastructure is operating at full capacity.
UT Stormwater is permitted from the EPA to manage all the rain that falls on campus in a specific manner. This permit is a legal binding agreement between the campus community and the federal and local governments to ensure that storm water is managed properly. In this permit, all new built space on campus must manage the first inch of rainfall that falls on each site, and some of the newest buildings on campus have some of the latest technology to manage this.
The Terrace Avenue Garage, Mossman, Student Union Phase II, and the soon to open Dogwood and Magnolia Residence Halls each have carefully selected and state of the art technology.
The Terrace Avenue Garage is formatted with an oil water separator (pictured left), which functions by collecting all the rainwater from the garage and separating out any greases, motor oils, or other floatables and filtering it out from the stormwater to ensure the water leaving the garage is as clean as possible.
The Mossman complex is equipped with a manufactured water quality treatment device, which has a series of grates and chambers that filter out things like cups, bottles, leaves and debris. These materials are collected and removed every few months to prevent backup.
Student Union Phase II features a rain water harvesting and purifying system that allows rainwater to be captured, purified and used for things like irrigation. Dogwood and Magnolia residence halls also feature similar rainwater harvesting. However, this water goes through a multistage filter process to remove contaminants and sediments, passes a UV light to eliminate any pathogens, and is stored and used for flushing toilets, irrigation and laundry.
All of these devices help insure a safer, healthier, greener and more sustainable campus. UT stormwater always needs your help. Remember, if you see dirty water, pollution, or suspicious activity of campus stormwater or infrastructure, report it. If you have any questions about any stormwater issues, or if you see something that should be reported, please see stormwater.utk.edu to fill out a form. Remember, if it’s not 100% clean water, it doesn’t go down the drain.