The Water Environment Federation (WEF) today announced the winners of its fourth annual stormwater video competition. The 2015 StormTV Project received almost 150 submissions and more international submissions than any year prior. More than 35 expert judges reviewed the submissions and selected winners based on message communication and quality as well as content matter and relevance.

“I was truly inspired by the innovation demonstrated by the videos featuring programs and projects,” said Elizabeth Krousel, a judge and program manager with Michael Baker International.

Judge Denise Burkett, environmental coordinating manager with Kansas City Water Services, called the videos creative and entertaining.

In addition to being a competition, the StormTV Project also builds a library of inventive stormwater programs, practices, products, and public outreach. Since the competition launched in 2012, WEF has collected 366 videos, which are displayed on WEF’s YouTube channel within the StormTV Project playlist. This year’s submissions also are displayed by location through an interactive, online map of public education videos and a map of programs and projects, commercial, and training videos.

According to Neal Shapiro, judge and supervisor of City of Santa Monica’s Watershed Management Section, the StormTV Project allows viewers to “learn what stormwater colleagues are doing around the nation and even the world, exposing viewers to different and educational experiences.” Stormwater innovations and ingenious solutions displayed in the videos can then be applied in one’s home watershed, he said.

The winning videos will be shown and receive their awards during a ceremony in the Stormwater Pavilion Theater at WEFTEC® 2015 in Chicago. StormTV Project sessions will be held Sept. 28 and 29 at 2:30 p.m.

Judges selected winners in four categories: public education, training, commercial, and programs & projects.

Public Education Winner

The Australian Car Wash Association won the  public education category award for the video, “Stormwater Pollution – The Dirty Truth: Home Car Washing.”

Since the mid-2000s in Australia, most automatic car washes use recycling systems to comply with water efficiency targets. The Australian Car Wash Association (ACWA) — a nonprofit that promotes commercial car washes as the most environmentally responsible places to wash vehicles —studied the quality of car-wash wastewater. The research showed that recycling the water was not harmful to human health and safety. However, ACWA found that the range and concentration of pollutants were much higher than expected and that at-home car washing can significantly harm local waterways.

To keep pollutants out of waterways, ACWA created a public awareness campaign to encourage car owners to visit commercial car washes and inform the public that water flowing into stormwater drains goes directly to local waterways untreated. The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning funded the campaign.

“The videos have received enthusiastic support from local councils, from [Australia’s] national Stormwater Association, and even from peak motoring bodies,” said ACWA CEO Diane Ross. “With all this support, over time, the people of Australia will become aware of the direct connection between their local stormwater drains and the pollution of their local waterways and hopefully change their habits accordingly.”

Training Winner

The University of North Carolina Institute for the Environment and Town of Chapel Hill won the training category award for the video, “Keep Restaurant Pollution and Profits From Going Down the Stormwater Drain.”

In 2009, the Stormwater Management Division from the Town of Chapel Hill, N.C., responded to many reports of illicit discharges in restaurant storm drains. To stop these illegal discharges, the town and the University of North Carolina Institute for the Environment (UNC-IE) collaborated to produce educational videos, posters, and handouts. The Wallace Genetic Foundation helped to fund the effort. These materials now are being used nationwide to train restaurant workers about preventing pollution.

“By combining the resources of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with those of the Town of Chapel Hill, we were able to produce a stormwater pollution prevention video that was creative, informative, and met real training needs in our local business community,” said Kathleen Gray, associate director for outreach and public service with UNC-IE.

The free outreach materials produced through the town and UNC-IE’s collaboration “help restaurant owners and employees understand the storm drain system, local watersheds, and good housekeeping expectations to prevent water pollution,” said Wendy Smith, community education coordinator for the Town of Chapel Hill.

The winning video, “Keep Restaurant Pollution and Profits From Going Down the Stormwater Drain,” models good housekeeping practices by showing viewers how to store and dispose of wastes properly to protect businesses and water quality. Since the training program began in Chapel Hill, restaurant employees have reduced the number of dumping violations, and several local businesses have invested in constructing or improving washout areas to avoid sending wash water and organic matter into storm drains.

Check out the groups’ other stormwater pollution prevention video for restaurants in Spanish.

Commercial Winner

Enginuity LLC Makers of RainReserve won the  commercial category award for the video, “Gilardi’s Segment.”

The staff members of Enginuity LLC — a company based in Mansfield, Mo. — have a passion for water conservation. In addition to their RainReserve rainwater harvesting products, the company offers community programs about capturing stormwater and partners with local government on rainwater rebate initiatives.

Enginuity’s video features a 7570-L rainwater harvesting system installed in the urban community garden of Gilardi’s Italian Restaurant in Springfield, Mo. “We hope that this recognition [through the StormTV Project] elevates awareness around water conservation and the critical link to accelerating the local food movement,” said Omar Galal, president of Enginuity.

Using the RainReserve system, restaurant owner James Martin, has reduced his water bill significantly. He uses collected rainwater to grow food to supply his restaurant and to donate to local charity organizations. “Chef James Martin of Gilardi’s Restaurant has created a model of sustainability by sourcing his own food and water onsite,” Galal said. “By incorporating an attractive and practical approach to rainwater harvesting, he has reduced costs while using fewer resources.”

In the video, Martin praises the scalability of the RainReserve system, which is comprised of interconnected barrels made from plastic panels. With its flexibility, the system fits into Martin’s future greenhouse expansion plans.

Programs & Projects Winner

Atelier Dreiseitl, a Ramboll-Environ Company, won the programs & projects award for the video, “Bishan- Ang Mo Kio Park.”

The Kallang channel stretched along the edge of Singapore’s popular Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Atelier Dreiseitl redesigned the 2.7-km straight, concrete drainage channel into a sinuous, natural river that is 3.2-km-long and meanders through the park.

“Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park: Urban river restoration is a multi-beneficial system for people, the environment, and city infrastructure that brings the vision of a smart, beautiful, and livable city into reality,” according to the company, which also produced the winning video about the project.

The urban river restoration created new spaces for the community to enjoy. The project redesigned 62 ha of the park to accommodate dynamic river processes, including fluctuating water levels, and to benefit park-goers. The park includes three playgrounds, restaurants, a new lookout point constructed from the recycled walls of the old concrete channel, and open green space to complement the natural wonder of an ecologically restored river in the heartlands of the city.

This project is part of the Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme, a long-term initiative to transform Singapore’s water bodies beyond their drainage and water supply functions into vibrant, new spaces for community bonding and recreation.