Orange County Branch Newsletter

April 2015

Sustainability Committee

US Environmental Protection Agency’s 2014 Campus RainWorks Challenge

By: Michael Dole, PE, M.ASCE | Conestoga-Rovers and Associates a GHD company

The U.S. EPA’s Office of Water is in the midst of the 3rd annual Campus RainWorks Challenge for college and university students. Last fall, student teams from various universities across the county enrolled in the national challenge to design an innovative green infrastructure project for a location on their campus. Student teams collaborated with a faculty advisor to develop design boards and a project narrative describing the project.

The Challenge has been designed to engage students in reinventing our nation’s water infrastructure. In most developed areas, stormwater is drained through engineered collection systems and discharged into nearby waterbodies. This stormwater carries trash, bacteria, heavy metals, and other pollutants from the urban landscape, degrading water quality. Higher flows can also cause erosion and flooding in nearby streams, damaging habitat, property, and infrastructure. As our cities and towns grow, more and more of our streams, lakes, and bays will be at risk. At the same time, these cities and towns will demand more and more clean water to meet household and industry needs.

Student submissions to the Challenge will be put through several rounds of judging by professionals throughout the nation prior to a final decision by EPA’s Lead Judge from the Office of Water. The top two winning teams in each of the two categories (demonstration project and master plan) will be announced in April of this year and awarded a student prize to be divided evenly among student team members, as well as a faculty prize to support green infrastructure research or training. The total prize monies to be awarded this year are $16,000.

The goal of the OC ASCE Sustainability committee is to bring recognition to this exciting competition and to support our local Universities with developing teams and projects for the upcoming 4th annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, kicking off Fall 2015.  For more information please reach out to the committee or visit


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2014). Campus RainWorks Challenge: A Green Infrastructure Design Challenge for Colleges and Universities. Accessed at

Related Groups/Committees