Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

A Stormwater Constructed Wetland Using Renewable and Recyclable Materials and Native Wetland Plants

EPA Grant Number: SU833556
Title: A Stormwater Constructed Wetland Using Renewable and Recyclable Materials and Native Wetland Plants
Investigators: Idol, Travis , Sylva, Traci
Current Investigators: Idol, Travis , Caraway, Kaori , Cho, Alyssa , Ferguson, Carol , Gautz, Loren , McDowell, Brianna , Mihlbauer, Edward , Real de Oliveira, Verawati Corte , Saunter, Matthew , Takara, Devin
Institution: University of Hawaii at Manoa
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009
Project Amount: $9,968
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2007) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Awards , Sustainability



Management of water resources is a key natural resource issue in urban areas around the world. Storm water runoff is a serious concern for wastewater treatment and contributes significantly to non-point source pollution. In Hawaii, storm water runoff has led to excessive pollutant levels in urban streams and canals. One approach to managing storm water runoff is the use of constructed wetlands. These scalable and simple designs can be customized for water flow rates and contaminant levels. Treated water can be reused for irrigation, increasing effective rain water capture, use, and groundwater recharge. This reduces demands on fresh water supplies with a low-maintenance and cost-effective technology. Constructed wetlands can also utilize native plants for water treatment as well as surrounding landscaping, improving the aesthetics and better integrating the natural and urban environments at a community level.


We propose to develop a storm water constructed wetland using native wetland plants that will be the first stage in a multi-stage constructed wetland designed to handle multiple waste water sources. In the first phase, we will collect weather data and storm water samples in order to estimate the storm water drainage area, flow rates, and pollutant levels. These will be used to determine the design parameters for the constructed wetland. The NREM senior capstone class, Environmental Problem Solving, will partner with the design team to analyze the data and determine the design parameters. The wetland will serve as a functioning example of place-based sustainability on the Manoa campus. The project will include occasional guided tours and a permanent educational display at the site to help raise awareness in the community of water resource challenges and opportunities for sustainable management. Because nearby k-12 schools contribute to the storm water flows on campus, we will actively involve them in the data collection process as well as make presentations and provide guided tours of the project site as it develops, illustrating sustainability concepts as well as approaches to meeting the challenges. In all phases of the project development, key partners will support the design team to maximize the opportunities to promote sustainability on campus and in the larger community.

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report