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PHILADELPHIA—Temple and Villanova Universities have combined to form a stormwater initiative to implement and study the effects of stormwater best management practices (BMPs). The Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative (T-VSSI) will test the effectiveness of a subsurface infiltration system consisting of 25 Cultec Recharger 330 heavy-duty chambers and one Stormfilter In-line Filter. The entire system will have the capacity to store and infiltrate more than 10,000 gallons of stormwater runoff. In addition to the infiltration gallery, the empirical study will test a number of other BMPs, including wetlands, ponds, and riparian buffers, and use the findings to develop improved stormwater management planning and techniques for Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s Pennypack Creek Watershed, which is the focus of the study, covers 56 square-miles, incorporates 12 municipalities, and includes a population of more than 300,000. The watershed covers parts of Montgomery and Bucks counties and the city of Philadelphia and is almost completely built-out, leading to a number of problems, including increased flooding, increased levels of silt in the rivers, and other ecological degradation. The key issues in this area are unplanned land development, poor stormwater management, impaired water quality, and outdated floodplain maps.

"By studying the system installed at the site, we will be able to effectively show how municipalities can retrofit existing facilities where stormwater management is lacking," said Richard Nalbandian, research fellow from the Temple University Center for Sustainable Communities. "Furthermore, we can recommend these types of underground systems as solutions in future situations where land constraints may limit BMP possibilities."

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