Ohio Wesleyan University and the City of Delaware have partnered to clean up Delaware Run. On Monday, installation crews installed a storm drain net into the waterway on the OWU campus, just east of Edgar Hall.
The storm drain measures 4 feet high and 18.5 feet wide. The net will capture trash and other debris, such as leaves and lawn clippings, which will help both OWU students and the city to study and improve the quality of the waterway. Delaware Run flows through campus and funnels into the Olentangy River.
A crane was used Monday morning to put the 13,000-pound storm drain, which is weighted by concrete, into place. The total cost of the structure was approximately $18,300 and was funded by both the city and OWU. Delaware’s share was around $9,000-$10,000, which was funded by the stormwater fees residents pay monthly that can only be used for projects related to stormwater, according to Community Affairs Coordinator Lee Yoakum.
“This project, along with providing valuable data, allows the city to meet federal stormwater requirements pertaining to outreach and education of watershed best practices,” Yoakum said. “This storm net structure is an invaluable long-term tool to help us with the delicate balance of watershed health and sustainability.”
OWU’s portion was funded through an OWU Connection project grant, which was written by and awarded to OWU senior Brianna Graber.
Graber, a zoology major, spearheaded the project over the past year with the planning and conducting of research on the water quality of Delaware Run. Graber interned with the city’s Public Utilities Department and Watershed and Sustainability Coordinator Caroline Cicerchi this past summer.
Graber said she began working on the project in a class led by professor John Krygier last fall during her junior year, which ultimately led to the internship with the city.
During that class, Graber said Janelle Valdinger, who also works for the Public Utilities Department, suggested various project ideas to the class, one of which particularly grabbed her attention.
“I decided I wanted to do something bigger and better than a small, semester-long project,” Graber said, later adding, “I think the drain will allow for cleaner waterways, definitely improving the water chemistry and quality of the water.”
As part of the internship with the city, Graber said she became more familiar with Delaware Run and was able to conduct the preliminary testing of the water ahead of the installation of the net.
“The installation of this net will benefit OWU students for years in that they’ll be able to gain hands-on, water quality monitoring experience,” Cicerchi said. “Once Brianna graduates, we will have another student pick up the research each summer for at least five years.”
Circerchi went on to say, “By having this structure in the waterway, it will draw people’s attention to the Delaware Run and the Olentangy River in general. Hopefully, it will serve as a reminder that our waterways are ours to protect, and seeing trash get caught in the device will be a reminder of how our everyday choices impact our natural resources. This installation will also serve as an exciting example of what can be accomplished when private, public, and nonprofit organizations alike come together to accomplish goals.”