UTSA professors receive grant to study San Antonio storm water
(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.
Join the Hispanic Student Association as we play a game of Mexican Loteria.Aspen Heights Club House, 12839 Berthoud Ln, San Antonio, TX 78249
Come to Bandera Market to celebrate national Hispanic Heritage Month with Hispanic vendors from a variety of countries. Free entry.Bandera Pointe Shopping Center,11627 Bandera Road
The College for Health, Community and Policy at UTSA is proud to present the Dean's Community Lecture Series, a series of events bringing community leaders from San Antonio and beyond to foster the natural leadership abilities of students while discussing critical topics in our community.Virtual Event
A video on Instagram Live (@UTSA_MSCEJ) of Chef Jesse Moreno-Valle from Aramark creating a couple of great dishes: sopa negra (black bean soup) al estilo Costa Rica y güirilas (a crepe style item made with corn and a cheese filling) from Nicaragua.Virtual Event
Visit the library to learn how to make your own Worry Dolls. Pick up a supply packet to make at the library or to take home. Worry dolls (also called trouble dolls; in Spanish, Muñeca quitapena) are small, hand-made dolls that originate from Guatemala.San Antonio Public Library, 9050 Wellwood, San Antonio, Texas 78250
For Hispanic Heritage Month this year we will be reading two books, starting in September with "I, Rigoberta Menchú", an autobiography. The October book will be "Cemetery Boys" by Aiden Thomas. Students who join the RJBC are eligible to receive the book free.Virtual Event
Dueling Tacos are on the menu for Noon Time Helping of Mexican cuisine in San Antonio Public Library's Virtual Kitchen! Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in style and discover new taco ideas!Virtual Event