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Student Research Projects

Effect of Green Roofs on Runoff Water Quality

Student Ivy Ozmon
Faculty Mentor(s) Dr. Elizabeth Malcolm
Dr. Margaret Reese
Dr. Maynard Schaus
Department Earth and Environmental Sciences

Abstract

Green roofs have been demonstrated to reduce the total runoff volume from a roof, but there are few published studies of the impact on pollutants in the runoff and none on mercury (Berndtsson et al, 2006). A reduction in runoff volume from green roofs has led to the assumption that green roofs would reduce runoff pollution. In the fall of 2005, Virginia Wesleyan College initiated its green roof project in an attempt to further understand the impacts green roofs may have on environmental water quality.
Recently, a green roof was installed on the roof of Smithdeal Hall, which will serve as the experimental site. There are three sections to the green roof: one with no fertilizers, one with a time released low dose fertilizer, and one with the low dose fertilizer and an experimental nutrient absorbing filter. Each section has its own drain, able to hold small Teflon vials for sampling during rainstorms. Runoff from "living" green roofs will be analyzed for phosphorus, nitrogen, and mercury pollutants to determine the effect of green roofs on water quality. Recommendations regarding fertilizer application and the use of a new nutrient absorbing material on green roofs will be determined based on these results.

Grants

Supported by Funding from the VA Dept. of Conservation & Recreation

EPA Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Undergraduate Student Fellowship

EPA P3 Award

Conferences

Malcolm, E., Reese, M., Schaus, M., Ozmon, I. Do Living Green Roofs Reduce
Total Mercury in Stormwater Runoff? Poster presented at the 8th International
Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, Madison Wisconsin, August 2006.

Ozmon, I. "Green Roofs, Fertilizers, and Environmental Water Quality" Virginia Academy of Sciences, Oct. 2006.

 

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