West Chester University
High-quality drinking water and wastewater treatment are critical to protecting human health and the environment. There are 772 communities in 33 states and the District of Columbia with a total of 9,471 identified combined sewer overflow problems. Combined sewer overflows contribute to the ongoing contamination of the nation's waters by releasing approximately 850 billion gallons of raw or partially treated sewage annually. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that between 23,000 and 75,000 sanitary sewer overflows occur each year in the United States, releasing between three to 10 billion gallons of sewage per year. The EPA estimates that more than $50.6 billion is necessary to address combined sewer overflow problems, and an additional $88.5 billion is needed to address sanitary sewer overflows.
According to a representative survey of its member wastewater treatment facilities by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, communities throughout the nation have more than $4 billion of wastewater treatment projects that are ready to go to construction, if funding is made available. Funds can be distributed immediately through the Safe Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds and designated for repair and construction projects that can begin within 90 days.
If this issue is important to you, contact your elected officials and let them know you want projects like these to be supported in the upcoming budget as well as in the future legislation.
Students at WCU work on real world projects to complement their lab time and research projects. The Plum Run project is an example. The Plum Run Project was undertaken in the spring and fall semesters of 2006. The project was a cooperative effort between West Chester University's Biology Department, Geology and Astronomy Department, and Geography and Planning Department at West Chester University. The project was completed under the supervision of Drs. Winfield Fairchild, Tim Lutz, and Gary W. Coutu.
Learn more about it and check out the Plum Run GIS tutorial (really neat) here.