Garden rooftops, green alleyways, and sewer caps are some of the possible solutions student consultants presented to officials with ALCOSAN (Allegheny County Sanitary Authority). The high school students were charged with finding ways to better handle stormwater runoff, which is a leading cause of water pollution and poses dangerous risks for wildlife.
The student consulting project was coordinated through the Consortium for Public Education, which aims to connect schools with businesses and professional organizations.
South Fayette students proposed several green solutions, such as creating a courtyard with plants, grass, and interlocking permeable paving blocks on campus. Students also explored rooftop gardens where vegetables could be cultivated using redirected rain. Another idea that seemed to interest engineers from ALCOSAN is a plastic drain waste vent to cover sewer pipes. The cover would prevent stormwater from entering our sewer systems.
“I also really enjoyed collaborating with my friends and getting the chance to research ideas on our own without a lot of guidance from our teacher,” said Kopec.
Tene Croom, Public Relations representative for ALCOSAN, said she thoroughly enjoyed watching the student presentations. “I thought they were fantastic and they really came up with some creative ideas!”
Students from Penn Hills High School also took part in the consulting challenge with partners from ALCOSAN.