Discharges to Surface Water
There are many surface waters in and around the UConn campuses. At the Storrs Campus, there are Swan and Mirror Lakes, Eagleville Brook, and Roberts Brook, and several other unnamed streams and wetlands. All of the 1,000-plus catch basins throughout campus discharge to these surface waters.
Only rain water and snow melt can be discharged to surface water or the storm sewer without a permit. No process wastewater, including wash water and utility pit pump-outs, can be discharged to surface water or the storm sewer without a permit.
If you suspect or know of an activity causing a discharge to surface water or storm sewer, please contact OEP so we can obtain the proper permit or find a feasible alternative.
The UConn Storrs and Depot campuses are served by the University’s Water Pollution Control Facility. In most cases, wastewaters from the other regional campuses discharge to the local Publically Owned Treatment Works. Rural campuses and extension centers where sewer is not available maintain their own septic systems.
The UConn Storrs WPCF operates under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. The NPDES permit is issued by CT DEP. The WPCF discharges its treated effluent to the Willimantic River at a location just downstream of the Eagleville Pond dam. UConn Facilities Operations runs and maintains the sewer system and the treatment plant, including all compliance monitoring.
Any new sources of domestic wastewater that will be greater than 50,000 gallons per day must be covered under the CT DEP domestic sewage general permit. Any new, non-domestic discharges must be covered by a CT DEP general permit or by an individual State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit.
There are various General Permits available for different categories of non-domestic wastewater. In a college campus environment, the following types of wastewater could be expected.
Water Treatment Wastewater – Laboratories often require purified water for their research. Filter systems often need to routinely backflush, and purifications systems reject concentrated wastewater.
- Swimming Pool Wastewater – Public pools, including small units that are repeatedly used between drainings, will generate wastewater especially when maintenance is needed. Permit conditions include annual trainings for the pool operators.
- Boiler Blowdown – Boilers discharge wastewater to maintain optimal pressure or water chemistry. Permit coverage is typically automatic, but annual water testing is needed if treatment chemicals are used.
- Photographic Development Wastewater – With digital cameras and printers more common now, photo development is not as prevalent as before. However, photo and x-ray development typically involve wastewater that need proper permit coverage. Permit conditions include having a proper silver reclamation unit and testing the wastewater for silver.
- Non-Contact Cooling Water – Cooling towers and heat exchangers are common sources of wastewater covered by this general permit.
- Food Preparation Wastewater – Places where food is prepared typically have fats, oils, and greases (FOG) in their wastewater from sinks, dishwashers or other sources. The FOG in the wastewater can cause sewer blockages, which can lead to sewer overflows. Therefore, these establishments need to have grease traps that meet the standard of this general permit.
- Vehicle Maintenance Wastewater – Car washes and repair facilities that use wash water need to have an oil/water separator to prevent oils and grit from affecting the sewer treatment plant.
- Miscellaneous Discharges of Sewer Compatible Wastewater – The catch-all for all other common, non-domestic wastewaters. Most common are compressor condensate, floor wash water, and fire sprinkler test water.
Each General Permit has unique conditions and requirements, including routine testing in some cases. If you are planning a campus project or improvement that will involve a new source of wastewater,
please contact OEP so we may review your plan and discuss permitting options.
To improve the overall water quality of Eagleville Brook, UConn carefully reviews all new construction projects within the watershed to help identify ways that additional impervious surfaces can be effectively off-set. This is done in support of the DEP’s Total Maximum Daily Load analysis for Eagleville Brook. The TMDL concluded that the amount of impervious surfaces (roadways, sidewalks, rooftops) contributed to the impaired water quality and established the goal to reduce on-campus impervious surfaces within watershed.
In 2009-2010, the UConn Nonpoint Education for Municipal Organizations (NEMO) coordinated a project to survey the campus region of the watershed. The project assessed 110 potential stormwater retrofit opportunities at 51 project sites watershed. Out of the analysis came a “Top Ten” list of priority retrofits, for which the team created conceptual drawings. The intent is not necessarily to implement these practices exactly as conceived, but to inform the design process as building and renovation take place on campus. See the project technical report for more information.
The NEMO program has also developed a website devoted to the Eagleville Brook Impervious Cover TMDL project. The website can be found at http://clear.uconn.edu/projects/tmdl/.
The “Level A” maps prepared by UConn outline the aquifer protection areas surrounding its water supplies along the Willimantic and Fenton Rivers. These maps were approved by the CT DEP Aquifer Protection Program. Also, the Town of Mansfield and the Town of Coventry have incorporated the UConn aquifer protection areas into their municipal mapping.
For more information on Level A Aquifier Mapping.
Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the land surface. The addition of roads, driveways, parking lots, rooftops and other surfaces that prevent water from soaking into the ground to our landscape greatly increases the runoff volume created during storms.
The goals of stormwater planning are to:
- reduce flood damage, including damage to life and property;
- minimize, to the extent practical, any increase in stormwater runoff from any new development;
- reduce soil erosion from any development or construction project;
- assure the adequacy of existing and proposed culverts and bridges, and other in-stream structures;
- maintain groundwater recharge;
- prevent, to the greatest extent feasible, an increase in nonpoint pollution;
- maintain the integrity of stream channels for their biological functions, as well as for drainage;
- minimize pollutants in stormwater runoff from new and existing development to restore, enhance, and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the waters of the state, to protect public health, to safeguard fish and aquatic life and scenic and ecological values, and to enhance the domestic, municipal, recreational, industrial, and other uses of water; and
- protect public safety through the proper design and operation of stormwater basins.
The function of the Utilities Services department is to maintain the integrity of the Storrs Campus utility infrastructure (water, steam, condensate, sanitary, co-generation, electrical and energy management systems).
For more information, visit the Facilities Operations & Building Services.