New labs focus on stormwater, floods

FloodedFieldsTBWhen floods arrive, hydrologists scramble. They run computer models to evaluate the need for evacuation. They gather data to understand impacts on fish, soils and water quality. Now, Oregon State researchers will have access to two new labs that enable them to test theories before the downpour.

A Multipurpose River Hydraulics Research Facility will be located at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Lab. It includes a recirculating system and a concrete platform for independent, simultaneous experiments. Near Avery Park in Corvallis, the OSU-Benton County Green Stormwater Infrastructure Research Facility will offer three independent cells for testing water treatment technologies. Stormwater will be stored in underground tanks and pumped into the cells for experiments. Education and outreach activities will also be carried out at the lab.

Two OSU assistant engineering professors, Arturo Leon and Meghna Babbar-Sebens, will direct the River Hydraulics Lab and stormwater facility respectively. Oregon BEST, a statewide nonprofit research organization, has provided funding for both labs. Other support comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Oregon State University, the Oregon Water Resources Department, Benton County, Northwest Research Associates and the Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium.