WEF Volunteers Get Noticed at New Orleans City Hall

November 23, 2016

Featured, Multimedia

Tim Moran, past chair of the Students and Young Professionals Committee (SYPC) WEF Community Service Project Subcommittee

Photo courtesy of Tim Moran.

Photo courtesy of Tim Moran.


Tim Moran, Chemtrol product manager at NIBCO (Elkhart, Ind.), served as a co-chair of the SYPC Community Service Projects from 2012 through 2015. He became a member of the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) in 2011 and the Kentucky-Tennessee Water Environment association in 2012 after working in marketing at WEF for 4 years.

On the doorsteps of New Orleans City Hall, WEFTEC® 2016 volunteers exemplified the meaning of #mywaterlegacy. Early on a Saturday morning, 100 people braved 32°C (90°F) heat to help complete the ninth annual Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) Community Service Project, “NOLA Grows Green: The City Hall Stormwater Project.”

Volunteers backfilled a 112-m2 (1210-ft2) bioswale, excavated and backfilled a 17-m2 (180-ft2) rain garden, planted both areas, and installed five black gum trees. The bioswale will capture stormwater from a parking garage with enough storage for the typical 1- or 2-year storm events.

In the morning, volunteers got to work loading rock and soil in wheelbarrows to distribute through the bioswale and rain garden. A midday infusion of support came as 50 members of WEF’s Board of Trustees and House of Delegates arrived ready to work. These WEF leaders helped finish backfilling the bioswale. Volunteers learned best planting techniques from Dana Brown & Associates, a New Orleans-based landscape architecture firm, before installing 500 containers of native grasses and flowers.

After planting and watering were complete, attendees gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Paul Bowen, outgoing president of WEF, and Cedric Grant, executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans took the stage to thank and praise the volunteers.

Volunteers helped build a rain garden and bioswale during the ninth annual Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) Community Service Project. Photo courtesy of Oscar and Associates.

Volunteers helped build a rain garden and bioswale during the ninth annual Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) Community Service Project. Photo courtesy of Oscar and Associates.

While standing near the bioswale on Poydras Street, passersby can catch a glimpse of the iconic Superdome. “Right here is the front door for New Orleans,” Grant said, during the ribbon-cutting. Thousands of concert-goers would pass the site the evening the project was completed on Sept. 22, Grant said.

Volunteers shared messages on a board that was prominently displayed at the Morial Convention Center during WEFTEC, and which now sits at the entrance of City Hall where it greets city politicians and visitors. Project volunteer Michaela McKenzie of Orange, Texas, may have best summed up the day with her comment, “This looks swale.”

Read tweets and see photos on social media by searching for #wefservice.

Approximately 100 volunteers helped construct new green space in New Orleans during WEFTEC 2016. Photo courtesy of Oscar and Associates.

Approximately 100 volunteers helped construct new green space in New Orleans during WEFTEC 2016. Photo courtesy of Oscar and Associates.

New Orleans-based landscaping company Woods Materials donated all the soil used for the project. Johnathan Christian Stroud, the company’s director of soil and composting, crafted the soil blend to provide high infiltration rates and chemistry conducive to microbiological diversity, plant growth, and pollutant sequestration. The company also donated gravel that formed the supportive and quick-draining base layer between the soil and the perforated drainage pipe that runs through the bioswale.

Volunteers work together to build a bioswale and rain garden. Photo courtesy of Oscar and Associates.

Volunteers work together to build a bioswale and rain garden. Photo courtesy of Oscar and Associates.

This annual service project tradition started in 2008 as a way to give back to WEFTEC host communities. Currently, projects are organized by more than a dozen volunteers on the WEF Students and Young Professionals Committee. External sponsors and donors also contributed money, materials, and services to the project.

The 2016 project sponsors were AECOM (Los Angeles), Arcadis U.S. Inc. (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Black & Veatch (Overland Park, Kan.), Brown and Caldwell (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Carollo Engineers (Walnut Creek, Calif.), CDM Smith (Englewood, Colo.), CH2M Hill (Englewood, Colo.), Evoqua Water Technologies (Warrendale, Pa.), Greeley and Hansen LLC (Chicago), Hazen & Sawyer (New York), HDR Engineering (Omaha, Neb.), WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff (Montreal), and New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

Sponsors and donors contributed money, materials, and services to the project. WEF photo.

Sponsors and donors contributed money, materials, and services to the project. WEF photo.

The 2016 project donors included AE2S (Grand Forks, N.D.), AECOM and Parsons (Pasadena, Calif.) joint venture, Apex Engineering Group (Fargo, N.D.), Brentwood Industries (Reading, Pa.), NIBCO (Elkhart, Ind.), Lubrizol Corp. (Wickliffe, Ohio), Duperon (Saginaw, Mich.), E & I Corp. (Westerville, Ohio), Engineering America (Oakdale, Minn.), EOSi (Bourne, Mass.), FKC Co. Ltd. (Port Angeles, Wash.), Flottweg Separation Technology (Deutschland, Germany), Greater New Orleans Foundation (New Orleans), Hach (Loveland, Colo.), Hydro International (Hillsboro, Ore.), Michael Baker International (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Tnemec Co. (Kansas City, Mo.), Trotter and Associates Inc. (Fox Lake, Ill.), World Water Works (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Dana Brown & Associates (New Orleans), Mark Jenkins Nursery (Amite City, La.), Louisiana Growers (Amite, La.), Wood Materials (Harahan, La.), Construction Eco Services (Houston), New Orleans City Planning Commission, and the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans.

This year’s project included a student education event. Read about the fourth annual Water Palooza Education Day in the WEF Highlights article, “Water Palooza Visits Einstein Charter School’s Sherwood Forest Campus.”

— Tim Moran, Students and Young Professionals Committee

 

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