Program seeks to combat local water pollution issues

Storm Water Management is a program formed by Florida A&M University to enlighten students, faculty and staff about storm water pollution issues facing our community.

Andrew Balogh, director of environmental, health and safety, explained that storm water pollutiont affects everyone.

“Unlike pollution from industry or sewage treatment facilities, which is caused by a discrete number of sources, storm water pollution is caused by the daily activities of people everywhere,” Balogh said.

Balogh explained storm water pollution is also caused by storm water runoff from parking lots, streets, rooftops, construction sites and other contaminated areas.

“Storm water pollution from point sources and nonpoint sources is a challenging water quality problem,” Balogh said.

Balogh explained that nonpoint source pollution also affects our community. Nonpoint source pollution is water contamination with a hard to identify source. Various nonpoint pollutions are garbage, debris and animal waste that enter drains and local waterways causing pollution, Balogh said.

SWMP also provides information on how to make detention/retention ponds and streams on FAMU’s campus cleaner.

Sam Houston, director of FAMU’s facilities planning and construction, said retention ponds collect water from storm drains and collect the pollution that may have been caught in the water flow.

Houston said FAMU has two retention ponds. One located by FAMU’s school of architecture and another on Wahnish Way near the construction of the new FAMU Development Research School.

Houston said the cleaning facility cleans the retention pond every two years.

“We have to be a good neighbor to our community and keep things clean,” Houston said.

Although SWMP is based on campus and targets the FAMU body, Ryan Mitchell, Environmental Specialist said the program can serve an even bigger population.

However, some students said it will not make a great difference if everyone does not contribute to cleaning up.

“Even though we have programs like this, it’s really hard to see the difference you are making by picking up trash and pet waste because everybody is not going to contribute,” said Nyeisha Franklin, 21, a senior psychology student from Orlando.

Balogh said there are numerous benefits of SWMP. It manages the risks relating to the material and waste on sites, helps fulfill the requirements of quality and environmental management systems. The program also demonstrates how waste is controlled while cost and hazards are decreased.

“Because storm water pollution is caused by so many different activities, traditional regulatory controls will only go so far,” Balogh said. “Education and outreach are key components to any successful storm water program.”