Middle Tennessee State University students participate in a November 2012 tree planting event along Garrison Creek in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The trees help filter out pollutants when rainwater flows into local streams. (Photo courtesy of MTSU News)
Officials from Middle Tennessee State University and the Murfreesboro Water and Sewer Department are inviting the public to attend an upcoming meeting on how campus stormwater is being handled in the area.
The meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the Patterson Park Community Center in Murfreesboro. The meeting will highlight the annual stormwater report and outcomes of the joint program.
“We want the outreach to be effective,” said Shelia Knight, an environmental engineer with MTSU Environmental Health and Safety Services. “The whole idea is to reduce the pollutants in our streams.”
MTSU and the city of Murfreesboro jointly operate a national pollutant discharge elimination system permit. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation requires the permit as mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act of 1972.
This is the second year of the program for MTSU and also the second year of the co-permit between the city and the university. Both the state department and the permit process require MTSU and the city to hold a public meeting to encourage public participation and community involvement with the programs.
The primary goal of this permit is improving surface-water quality by reducing pollutants in the runoff water. Outreach efforts have included coordination of volunteer tree-planting and litter-pick-up events in the community and on campus.
“You can’t do it without the public,” said Cynthia Allen, a program coordinator. “That’s the requirement of the permit. You have to have public education and public participation.”
Polluted stormwater runoff is commonly transported through municipal separate storm sewer systems, also called MS4s, where it is often discharged untreated into local bodies of water.
To prevent harmful pollutants from being washed or dumped into such a system, operators must obtain a permit and develop a stormwater management program.
To learn more about the program and upcoming activities, visit www.mtsu.edu.