PUYALLUP, Wash. – Construction is underway to transform the Washington State University Puyallup Research and Extension Center into a full-scale research lab and demonstration facility on the application of low impact development techniques. The phase 1 retrofit of the 114-year old facility will control stormwater runoff that can carry pollutants into nearby waterways, and measure the effectiveness of various techniques and materials in controlling and filtering runoff.
According to WSU Puyallup Extension LID educator Curtis Hinman this may be the only full-scale research facility on LID techniques of its kind in the United States.
The public is invited to a celebration and preview of the conversion on Thursday, Aug. 28, beginning at 12:30 p.m., at the WSU Puyallup Center, 2606 W. Pioneer in Puyallup (driving directions at http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/directions.html). A model of the completed facility will be on display, tours will be available, and scientists and experts will be on hand to explain the project and answer questions.
A number of dignitaries will be on hand to participate in the celebration, including WSU President Elson Floyd, Puyallup Mayor Don Malloy and City Manager Gary McLean, state Department of Ecology Director Jay Manning, Puget Sound Partnership Director David Dicks, and numerous community, government, and elected leaders from throughout the Puget Sound region.
Stormwater runoff was a major contributor to flood damage during storms in recent years, and is responsible for carrying pollutants into salmon-bearing waterways and ultimately to Puget Sound. Runoff from the WSU Puyallup campus drains into Woodland Creek, which flows to Clark’s Creek and eventually to the Puyallup River.
The project involves the replacement of paved surfaces such as parking lots with permeable materials, installing equipment to direct rainwater from building roofs into the 16 rain gardens being constructed, and monitoring equipment to measure the effectiveness of various plants and materials for capturing, retaining, and filtering stormwater.
The project is funded by a $1 million construction grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology with matching funds from WSU. The grant was awarded to the City of Puyallup in partnership with the WSU Puyallup Center and with the support of the Puyallup Indian Tribe.
The LID project is a major step in the WSU Puyallup Center’s evolution from being a traditional agricultural research and extension facility to becoming an urban center focused on the science and education of sustainability to meet the needs of urban communities and their residents.