Greener Behrend: Indicator 3, Monitor Water

Indicator 3: Monitor the quality of water leaving Behrend's property.

Penn State Behrend needs to take responsibility for the water that is leaving its land. As rainwater falls and flows over the non-permeable surfaces on campus, it picks up dirt and pollution (i.e. oil, antifreeze left by automobiles). The temperature of the water can also be raised by the asphalt. This now-polluted water flows directly into the creeks on Behrend's land. The water not only affects the health of the creek at the point of entrance, but also downstream and all the way to the lake. Since Lake Erie is the primary source of drinking water for Behrend, it only makes sense to ensure the quality of the water entering the lake.

Two monitoring station could be set up: one upstream from Behrend (for a base reading) and one either on Behrend's property, or just downstream from it. Measures can also be undertaken to treat the runoff before it reaches the creeks. The use of bio-swales (vegetated drainage channels) and other best management practices (such as permeable pavement) can treat run-off. More intensive planting will allow more rainwater to reach the ground water supply (turfgrass has such an intensive root system, more water runs off than is absorbed).