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University of Calgary students pitch innovative redesign of stormwater management

Click to play video: 'University of Calgary students pitch innovative redesign of storm water management'
University of Calgary students pitch innovative redesign of storm water management
WATCH: The University of Calgary's annual Engineering Design Fair is on display, with students showing off some incredible projects. Sarah Offin meets with a team that says it's ready to revolutionize storm water management with innovative tank and filter systems – Apr 4, 2024

The University of Calgary is buzzing with innovative ideas on display at every corner of the Schulich School of Engineering.

For many at the university, their projects — years in the making — are finally on display as part of the annual Engineering Design Fair.

StormWise Solutions is just one example. Engineering students walk judges through their display: a model showing water flow through a series of tanks and what could be a cost-effective solution for stormwater management.

“Based on some case studies we’ve done and research we’ve done in Canada, it looks like maintenance costs on average between $200,000 and $500,000 to perform,” said civil engineering student Jack Hopkie.

“Municipalities have been seen to delay this maintenance and then ponds require larger retrofits which often exceed a million dollars.”

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Hopkie and a group of three other engineering students suggested a modular tank and filter solution that could improve water quality and bring maintenance costs down to around $15,000.

“We can perform maintenance by simply draining the tank, bringing in a hydro-vac truck and sucking all of the sediment out as opposed to what happens now which is draining a large portion of an existing stormwater pond and then dredging it back to the original conditions. It can take about a month,” said Hopkie.

Many of the capstone projects on display are sponsored by industry or community partners, while others are hoping to launch businesses and take their ideas to market themselves.

But don’t expect to see the StormWise Solution launching into a pond near you anytime soon.

“We’re all hoping to get some work experience behind us and get into the real world a little bit,” said Hopkie.

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“But it was really neat to explore this idea and dive into it and definitely we think with some more research could be very, very promising.”

Engineers Canada suggests Canada will need over 100,000 new engineers by 2025. UCalgary has seen a steady increase in admissions over the last decade.

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