(May 17, 2016) -- Marcio Giacomoni, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and Heather Shipley, associate professor and chair of the UTSA Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), have received a $42,800 grant from the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance and San Antonio River Authority to support top-tier research on how storm water can be decontaminated and used by the San Antonio community.
“We’re trying to address many different water problems,” Giacomoni said. “Our goal is to enhance the city’s ability to provide water for the growing population.”
While San Antonio is often staring down the problem of a water shortage, it also must manage the challenge of having too much water due to Texas storms. Giacomoni believes that one problem can help alleviate another, and he plans to prove it at UTSA.
The UTSA Main Campus is located on the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, an area where rainfall flows through fractured limestone and replenishes the aquifer. The aquifer is the source of drinking water for much of central Texas.
“When it rains, some storm water becomes contaminated by bacteria, sediments and toxic chemicals on roads or other surfaces,” he said. “If we could purify that water, it could be carried out into the aquifer and benefit our community.”
To clean the storm water, existing regulation requires reducing suspended solids in storm water, which is typically achieved by sand filter basins—small ponds with a layer of sand at their base that collect surface runoff from parking lots and buildings. The basins’ sand layer acts as a natural filter for sediment and pollutants. Several already exist on the UTSA Main Campus.
“Our hope is that we’ll have a good assessment of how polluted storm water is, and if it can infiltrate to the aquifer after being treated by a sand filter basin,” he said.
They will embark on a one-year project to assess storm water treated by sand filter basins on campus. Once the researchers have a better understanding of the quality of the water, they’ll move on to study Low Impact Development (LID), such as bioretentions or rain gardens. In that treatment, the basin’s sand layer is replaced by soil with plants, which is able to treat many pollutants found in storm water through physical, chemical and biological processes.
“I hope that as the campus and the city expands, more sustainable practices or green infrastructure, such as LID, can be implemented,” he said. “The UTSA community is poised to take advantage of our green space and use it to help give back to our larger community: Texas.”
-- Joanna Carver
Public Affairs Specialist
Learn more about Marcio Giacomoni.
Learn more about the UTSA Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
UTSA's annual sustainability festival, showcases the university’s and the City of San Antonio’s progress on researching and developing sustainable solutions to improve the quality life for future generations.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.104), Main Campus
The institute will feature a performance from Eva Ybarra, the “Queen of the Accordion.” Manuel Medrano will premiere a documentary on Ybarra’s career. Two people receive free admission with a voucher available here.
Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Get involved and register to vote. Click on the link to find out the locations on the Main and Downtown Campuses.
Multiple locations on the Main and Downtown Campuses
Learn about products and services available for studying, working, and making it to graduation! Speak directly to OIT managers, provide feedback on UTSA tech, and have your voice heard! Lunch and OIT gear provided. RSVP at: www.utsa.edu/oit/sic.
University Center, Denman Ballroom (2.01.28), Main Campus
Come meet the candidates looking to take home the crown as Mr. and Ms. UTSA 2017-2018. This is your opportunity to hear the candidates platform and learn how they plan to represent and transform UTSA.
University Center, Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
UTSA's Friends of Shakespeare hosts this annual performance seried by Actors from the London Stage, Sept. 27, 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Arts Building, Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
The Monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery will prepare a mandala sand painting on the main exhibit floor and offer various lectures and activities.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Meet researchers and practitioners from academia, industry and government who are working to address smart cities related issues. Register here: https://utsaresearch.wufoo.com/forms/smart-cities-networking-luncheon/
Durango Building, La Villita Room (DB 1.116), Downtown Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.