Community cleanup will use trash for environmental research

Hydro International volunteers clean up an impaired watershed, and will conduct environmental analysis on trash collected.

Hydro International partnered with the United Way, Fairchild Semiconductor and the Cumberland Country Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD) to do a trash cleanup of the Long Creek Watershed on 19 May 2016. The waste collected during this collaborative volunteer day will be used in a research study that will help enhance water quality treatment across the country and the world.

“We’re very pleased that our involvement in a community cleanup project in our backyard will generate water quality research that can be applied across the globe” said Jim Newkirk, Director and General Manager of Hydro International’s Americas Stormwater Division. “Understanding the types and quantity of materials that eventually make their way into drainage lines and water bodies will advance our understanding of how and what our treatment systems need to remove in order to help improve water quality.”

Over a decade ago, the Long Creek - which runs through Westbrook, South Portland, Scarborough and Portland - was identified as an urban impaired watershed. In 2007, with guidance from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection along with funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency the community came together as part of a restoration project led by a steering committee comprised of the above-mentioned municipalities as well as area businesses and state agencies.

The cleanup focused mainly in and around the South Portland mall area and helped prevent trash and other harmful pollutants from making their way into the Long Creek where it could have otherwise harmed the local aquatic ecosystem. 

The research study will take place at Hydro International’s hydraulics laboratory in Portland, ME. This facility is one of the largest manufacture-owned test­ing facilities in the United States, and has been used for water quality performance verification for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), the Massachusetts STEP (Stormwater Technology Evaluation Project) and the Maine Department of Transportation, as well as many industrial facilities operating under a stormwater discharge permit.

Results of the study will be made available to the larger water treatment industry in the coming months. Sign up to be the first to hear about our findings.

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