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University of Calgary students propose creative overhaul of stormwater management

The University of Calgary is abuzz with innovative concepts showcased throughout the Schulich School of Engineering.

At the heart of this display of ingenuity is the annual Engineering Design Fair, where projects, meticulously crafted over years, finally see the light of day. Among these stands StormWise Solutions, a prime example of student innovation. Here, engineering students guide judges through a model depicting water flow across a series of tanks, presenting a potentially cost-effective remedy for stormwater management.

Civil engineering student Jack Hopkie elucidated, “Based on extensive case studies and research conducted across Canada, maintenance costs typically range between $200,000 and $500,000.” He continued, “Municipalities often defer maintenance, leading to the need for larger retrofits exceeding a million dollars.”

Hopkie and his team of engineering peers proposed a modular tank and filter system aimed at enhancing water quality while drastically reducing maintenance costs to approximately $15,000. “Our solution allows for straightforward maintenance by simply draining the tank and employing a hydro-vac truck to remove sediment,” explained Hopkie, contrasting it with the current method, which entails draining large portions of existing stormwater ponds and dredging, a process that can take up to a month.

Many showcased capstone projects are backed by industry or community partners, while others aspire to transform their ideas into marketable ventures. However, the StormWise Solution is not poised for immediate deployment. “We all aim to gain practical work experience and venture into the real world,” remarked Hopkie. “Yet, exploring and delving into this concept was truly enriching, and with further research, we believe it holds immense promise.”

With Engineers Canada projecting a need for over 100,000 new engineers by 2025, UCalgary has witnessed a consistent rise in admissions over the past decade. This surge underscores the university’s pivotal role in nurturing the next generation of engineering talent poised to address contemporary challenges with innovative solutions.

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