Community Cleanup to Use Trash for Environmental Research

Hydro International aims to use trash from Long Creek to forward water quality research that may be applied globally and will inform future efforts to protect the Long Creek watershed and other imperiled bodies of water.

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Hydro International worked with United Way and the Cumberland Country Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD) to clean up trash from the Long Creek Watershed on Thursday, May 19th. The waste collected during this collaborative volunteer day will be used in a research study that will help enhance water quality treatment across the country and the world.

“We’re very pleased that our involvement in a community cleanup project in our backyard will generate water quality research that can be applied across the globe” said Jim Newkirk Director and General Manager of Hydro International’s Americas Stormwater Division.  “Understanding the types and quantity of materials that eventually make their way into drainage lines and water bodies will advance our understanding of how and what our treatment systems need to remove in order to help better water quality.”

Over a decade ago, the Long Creek which runs through Westbrook, South Portland, Scarborough and Portland was identified as an urban impaired watershed. In 2007, with guidance from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) along with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the community came together as part of a restoration project led by a steering committee comprised of the above-mentioned municipalities as well as area businesses and state agencies.

The scheduled cleanup focused mainly in and around the South Portland mall area and will help prevent trash and other harmful pollutants from making their way into the Long Creek where it could otherwise harm the local aquatic ecosystem. 

The research study will take place within Hydro International’s hydraulics laboratory on 94 Hutchins Drive in Portland, ME. This facility is one of the largest manufacture-owned test¬ing facilities in the country and, has been used for water quality performance verification for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), the Massachusetts STEP (Stormwater Technology Evaluation Project), the Maine Department of Transportation as well as many industrial facilities operating under a stormwater discharge permit.