High-tech Rain Garden Nets OARDC Innovator Award

April 29, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A four-member team of current and former Ohio State University scientists yesterday (4/28) received the 2011 Director’s Innovator of the Year Award from the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). The award honors innovation and entrepreneurship by OARDC scientists either individually or in teams.

Parwinder Grewal, Warren Dick, Edward McCoy and Hanbae Yang were honored for developing and patenting a biphasic bioretention system, an advanced type of rain garden, for managing the volume and quality of stormwater.

A major nonpoint source of water pollution, stormwater runoff costs cities in Ohio and elsewhere billions of dollars a year to manage.

“The biphasic rain garden can reduce peak flow by 75 percent and runoff volume by 60 percent under simulated runoff conditions, providing an excellent solution to the runoff problem and enabling compliance with Environmental Protection Agency regulations,” OARDC Director Steve Slack said.

Furthermore, the new system removes large amounts of key pollutants from the water, including nitrates (91 percent), phosphates (99 percent), heavy metals (99 percent), atrazine (91 percent), dicamba (94 percent) and glyphosate (99 percent).

“This system can be used in a variety of settings, including home landscapes, parking lots, gas stations, city streets, roadsides, urban farms, animal farms, rooftops, car washes, laundromats and many more, making its commercialization potential quite extensive,” Slack said.

Potential revenue from the system, Slack noted, could be from $57 million to as much as $770 million a year.

Several of the new systems are already in place along Wooster’s recently renovated Secrest Road, which borders the OARDC campus.

Grewal is a professor in the Department of Entomology and is the director of OARDC’s Center for Urban Environment and Economic Development. Dick is a professor and McCoy is an associate professor, both in the School of Environment and Natural Resources. Yang is a former OARDC graduate research associate.

The award carries with it a plaque, $1,000 to the team and $2,500 to the operating account of the team’s research project. The award was presented in a ceremony during OARDC’s 2011 Annual Research Conference in Columbus.

Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro delivered the keynote address at the conference, which took place at Ohio State’s LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center.

OARDC is the research arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and is the largest university agricultural bioscience research center in the United States.

Author(s): 
Kurt Knebusch
Source(s): 
Steve Slack