Four students from the University of New Hampshire have partnered with the Portsmouth Department of Public Works to assess a new tool for the stormwater division to measure compliance with permitting resources from the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a release form the City of Portsmouth.

The four UNH students are part of the Civil and Environmental UNH Capstone Program. The students, all of whom are environmental engineering majors, were identified as Brandon Belmont, Joe DeGregorio, Jessica Nekowitsch and Andrew Godfrey.

All graduating seniors in the department are required to participate in a capstone design experience, the release said, adding that this year's long course is expected to afford students a field-work opportunity to apply their engineering, communication and management skills to a real-world team project.

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A proposal was submitted by the City of Portsmouth Department of Public Works Stormwater Division to Anthony Puntin, who is a capstone coordinator at UNH, per the release. Portsmouth DPW was apparently one of several municipalities to pitch their respective projects to UNH seniors over the summer.

“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,” Brian Goetz, Deputy Director of the Portsmouth DPW, said. “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."

The UNH team met with stormwater division staff in November to visit field sites such as outfall pipes, the release said, working to develop a preliminary design report outlining both their study and services. The spring semester will see the seniors conducting their research under the direction of Portsmouth DPW before presenting their findings at the UNH Undergraduate Research Conference in April. A final presentation will be made to a review panel of UNH and Portsmouth DPW advisors in May 2021.

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