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Water is one of the most important resources on our planet. Because of increased demand, the amount of water available to society is decreasing. Significant resources are used to distribute and treat our water. For these reasons, water should be conserved whenever possible. Water is extremely mobile. Through its complicated cycle, water moves locally, regionally and globally. During this time, it can be exposed to many pollutants and contaminants. The effects of global climate change are expected to have significant effects on the water cycle.
The Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, is the most important piece of legislation regarding water issues. During the year it was passed, only 36% of our lakes and rivers were fit for swimming and fishing. Today, nearly 60% are suitable for these activities, according to the EPA.
Water is treated and distributed by the City of Corvallis. OSU receives all of its treated water from the City. The City processes almost 3 billion gallons of drinking water each year. In Corvallis, we average around 50 inches of precipitation annually, according to the Oregon Climate Service.
Oak Creek, OSU's main waterway, has its headwaters in the McDonald-Dunn Research Forest and winds through residential, agricultural and commercial areas before emptying into the Mary's River, which eventually joins with the Willamette River.
In fiscal year 2010, OSU used over 230 million gallons of treated water. Expenses related to water (both supply and sewer) totaled nearly $1.5 million during that period.
OSU laboratories feature Consolidated Sterilizers equipped with WaterEco® conservation systems that save thousands of gallons of water each year, help meet federal and state water consumption laws, and contribute towards LEED certification. 8 autoclaves were installed around Oregon State campus in 2013-14. With the WaterEco conservation system implemented at various locations around the campus, an average of 90,000 gallons of water is saved per year per autoclave.
Conserving water is the easiest and most efficient way to increase its availability. Check out this page to see how you can conserve water at home.
OSU Landscaping uses water-conserving techniques wher ever possible. These techniques include:
More about OSU Landscaping.
If you notice problems with the irrigation system (incorrectly timed or positioned heads, leaks, wet spots, etc.) please contact us.
Stormwater is water that does not permeate the ground but instead runs over impermeable surfaces like roofs, parking lots, and streets, picking up pollutants and debris before finally entering the storm sewer system. Much of this untreated water evenetually enters creeks, streams and rivers. The table below shows stormwater management technologies, their purpose and where they are in use on the OSU campus.
The City of Corvallis has stringent regulations and guidelines related to stormwater.
A recent assessment on our campus's stormwater quality was done by OSU students. Results showed high levels of zinc and nitrate and acceptable levels of turbidity and conductivity. Analysis to OSU stormwater is important because it can help to improve the quality of the creek that it flows into (Oak Creek). The analysis also provides a basis to help OSU eventually become stormwater indpendent, meaning that we can reuse and treat the water on campus. To view the stormwater quality assessment in detail, you can view the results here.
|Stormwater Management Technology or Device||Purpose||Where in use|
|Reduce stormwater velocity, filter pollutants and debris, allow for infiltration, increase biodiversity and enhance habitat, mitigate volume of water entering storm sewer system||Reser Stadium parking lot (SW corner) and elsewhere|
|Bio/vegetated swales||Reduce stormwater velocity, filter pollutants and debris, allow for infiltration, increase biodiversity and enhance habitat, mitigate volume of water entering storm sewer system||SW corner of 30th & Washington Way and elsewhere|
|Rainwater collection & reuse||Divert rainwater for use in toilet flushing||Kelley Engineering Center|
|Rainwater retention||Filter pollutants and debris, allow for infiltration, increase biodiversity and enhance habitat, mitigate volume of water entering storm sewer system||Kearney Hall and Hallie Ford Center|
|Permeable hardscapes||Allow for infiltration||People's Park, newly constructed (in 2010) parking lots in SW corner of 11th & Washington Ave|
|Filter manhole||Filter pollutants and debris||Numerous|
|Detention manhole||Mitigate volume of water entering storm sewer system||Numerous|
|Green Roof||Filter pollutants and debris, increase biodiversity and enhance habitat, mitigate volume of water entering storm sewer system, provide insulation, aesthetic benefits||Behind Ag. Life Sciences on tool shed|
|Rain Garden||Filter pollutants and debris, increase biodiversity and enhance habitat, mitigate volume of water entering storm sewer system, allow for infiltration||None currently; planned for west side of Gilmore Hall