The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the City of Birmingham have collaborated on a program to promote environmental sensitivity and protect the city’s drinking water. The plan to assess and label stormwater drains around Birmingham – starting with UAB’s campus – will help discourage the dumping of unwanted chemicals and trash into drains.
The UAB Department of Occupational Health and Safety tasked graduate students in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering with mapping storm drains around UAB’s 86-block campus. Students also created preliminary designs for the labels and stencils, which will be unique to UAB.
“As the largest single-site employer in Alabama, UAB takes seriously its responsibility to be a good steward of our resources and to make our campus and environment more sustainable,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “UAB has undertaken a number of projects to improve the use of resources, and ensuring the safety of Birmingham’s drinking water is a high priority.”
Drain labeling has started at UAB, and the initiative will expand beyond campus in subsequent phases; the city and UAB Occupational Health and Safety will continue to assess the efficacy of labeling drains in the future.
“The City of Birmingham is moving forward in partnership with UAB to inform citizens on the importance of protecting the quality of our water resources,” said Mayor William Bell. “I am glad to see Birmingham’s stormwater management staff partnering with UAB’s Occupational Health and Safety Department. This will improve the awareness that to discharge any pollutants into these drains will cause pollution to nearby streams. The city also plans to spread awareness through storm-sewer labeling throughout the city in the next phase.”