WEF service project to address flooding problems at city hall in New Orleans

WEFTEC 2016 service project volunteers will construct two bioswales at City Hall in New Orleans. Photo courtesy of Tyler Antrup, New Orleans City Planning Commission.

WEFTEC 2016 service project volunteers will construct two bioswales at City Hall in New Orleans. Photo courtesy of Tyler Antrup, New Orleans City Planning Commission.

The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) Students and Young Professionals Committee (SYPC) is hard at work finalizing plans and logistics for the ninth annual WEF Community Service Project, “NOLA Grows Green: The City Hall Stormwater Project.” More than 200 volunteers are expected to participate in this year’s event, which is being held during WEFTEC® 2016 on the grounds of city hall in New Orleans on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Volunteers at this year’s service project will construct a rain garden and bioswale to slow and filter stormwater runoff from a parking garage structure and building roof. To build the green infrastructure, volunteers will backfill, grade, plant and mulch excavated areas. Participants will spend about 4 to 6 hours doing hands-on work at the project site.

For the third WEFTEC service project completed in Chicago, volunteers helped create a rain garden and outdoor classroom with permeable pavers and underground stormwater storage at the Pershing Magnet School. Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

For the third WEFTEC service project completed in Chicago, volunteers helped create a rain garden and outdoor classroom with permeable pavers and underground stormwater storage at the Pershing Magnet School. Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

“It’s a fun and rewarding experience to get your hands dirty and have a positive impact on the city,” said Michael Quamme, chair of the SYPC Community Service Project. “Without our volunteers, this event wouldn’t happen.”

While helping to alleviate flooding issues, this year’s project also will serve as an educational platform for the community to learn about water, the environment, and green infrastructure. SYPC plans to install signage onsite and have leaders on hand to provide lessons about eco-friendly construction throughout the day.

“This year’s project provides a whole new level of visibility with it being located at city hall,” Quamme said. “It will really help with our mission to provide education on what green infrastructure can do for the local environment.”

To volunteer, WEFTEC attendees should add the “WEF Community Service Project” to their conference registration. Transportation, lunch, and a project t-shirt will be provided to participants.

“Giving back to the community is an exciting opportunity year in and year out,” Quamme said. “It’s an incredible event that you have to experience to get the full idea of how special of a day it really is.”

The WEF Community Service Project will be funded entirely by WEF sponsorship and service project donations. Anyone interested in supporting this year’s project should contact Caroline Pakenham.

Caroline Pakenham, Manager of Association Engagement for Students and Young Professionals

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