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Fate of petroleum hydrocarbons from stormwater in raingardens


Stormwater pollution is a growing issue of environmental concern; in fact by some measures, urban stormwater is more polluted than treated wastewater. Green stormwater technologies have sprung up as a popular alternative to traditional curb-and-gutter construction, but overall little is known about their effectiveness in removing pollutants.

Greg LeFevre, an environmental engineering student IGERT Trainee in Non-Equilibrium Dynamics at the University of Minnesota, aims to make some of those discoveries. “Once we know these units are functioning hydraulically, it is vital to understand pollutant removal capabilities – and if it is sustainable,” says LeFevre. Although some pollutant studies have been conducted, there is still much that needs investigation. LeFevre’s research is examining the fate of petroleum hydrocarbons from stormwater in raingardens. “It is essential to know what pollutants can be effectively addressed using raingardens, and if there are ways to create improved designs. These could be in every neighborhood across the country.”

Address Goals

LeFevre is also working with a team of other IGERT Trainees from the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior to model the effects of alternative stormwater Best Management Practices on variable spatial scales.