City Stormwater Project Selected for UNH Capstone Engineering Student Program

December 10, 2020

CAPTION: Four students from the UNH Civil and Environmental Engineering Capstone Program are working with the City Department of Public Works to assess a new tool for the Stormwater Division to measure compliance with EPA permitting requirements. They are (left to right) Joe DeGregorio​. Brandon Belmonte, , Jessica Nekowitsch and Andrew Godfrey.

The Portsmouth Department of Public Works has started work with a team of four University of NH (UNH) students from the Civil and Environmental Engineering UNH Capstone Program to assess a new tool for the Stormwater Division to measure compliance with EPA permitting requirements.

UNH requires that all graduating seniors in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department participate in a Capstone design experience. This year-long course gives students a field work opportunity to apply their engineering, communication and management skills to a real-world team project.

Over the summer, the City of Portsmouth Department of Public Works Stormwater Division submitted a proposal to the UNH Capstone Coordinator Anthony Puntin, P.E. in UNH’s Civil/Environmental and Mechanical Engineering Departments, as one of several engineering projects in a variety of disciplines (i.e., structural, geotechnical, environmental, water resources) offered to students.

Jamie McCarty, GIS Manager and Stormwater Coordinator for the Portsmouth DPW, submitted a proposal for UNH Capstone students to assist in field work for a project, "Evaluating the implementation of Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) in Portsmouth, NH.​" Portsmouth DPW was one of several municipalities to pitch their projects to the UNH seniors in early September, and then welcomed a team of four UNH students who expressed interest in working on the project for an orientation to the field work in October.

The four UNH seniors, all Environmental Engineering majors, include: Brandon Belmonte, Joe DeGregorio, Jessica Nekowitsch and Andrew Godfrey.

“The students will be utilizing the Pollutant Tracking & Accounting Project (PTAP) application, which was recently proposed by the EPA as a requirement of all Site Plan Review Regulations for communities like Portsmouth who are following MS4 permit requirements for discharges from separated Storm/Sewer systems,” said Brian Goetz, Deputy Director of the Department of Public Works. “The students will assess the Stormwater BMPs adopted by the City of Portsmouth and use the PTAP application to evaluate their effectiveness in limiting nitrogen and other pollutant levels in the City’s stormwater discharges.​ It is tremendously helpful to have the students expand the resources available to assist the City in this project, as UNH interns have in the past, while they gain  practical, real-world experience working with the DPW Stormwater team.”

In November the team met with Stormwater Division staff to visit field sites such as outfall pipes and to develop the Preliminary Design Report outlining the scope of their study and services. Over the Spring Semester, the students will conduct their research under the direction of the Stormwater Division and then present their project findings at the UNH Undergraduate Research Conference in April. Their Final Design Report presentation to a review panel of UNH and City DPW advisors takes place May 2021. 

UNH Capstone Project students 2020.