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BSC Student’s Internship Helps City Stormwater Board Meet Federal and State Stormwater Control Standards

  • Created
    Thursday, September 05 2013
  • Created by
    Jim Nelson/Media Relations - (304) 327-4103 jnelson@bluefieldstate.edu

(Bluefield)—With the implementation of more stringent stormwater control mandates, municipalities like Bluefield have been faced with a challenging task. The Bluefield Stormwater Board has received timely and valuable assistance from Bluefield State College student Jackson Mohler in addressing those challenges.

Stephen Duffy, the Sanitary Board's Engineering Manager/Stormwater Director, explained that the Sanitary Board of Bluefield had been given responsibility for meeting the state Department of Environmental Protection's (WVDEP) compliance requirements of the city's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit, and the city formed the Bluefield Stormwater Board (BSB) to oversee the management and execution of these responsibilities.

"The MS4 permitting program is a federally mandated, state regulated, locally enforced and implemented pollution prevention program intended to reduce polluted stormwater runoff from reaching streams and other natural water bodies," Duffy stated.

Duffy contacted faculty within the BSC School of Engineering Technology & Computer Science. BSC faculty member Erik Baldwin recommended Jackson Mohler, a senior majoring in Civil Engineering Technology, to serve as an intern. "Jackson is a hard working student, and he is dedicated to his studies and academic career," Baldwin said. "I knew Jackson would enjoy the chance to apply the knowledge he has gained while serving the community."

"The specific project was a System-wide Infrastructure Condition Assessment," Duffy explained. "To date, Jackson has completed approximately 700 inspections, including nearly 2000 photographs. There will be a tremendous saving realized from the data being collected once we begin utilizing the information for strategic planning of rehabilitation and development projects."

The information Mohler has collected is being assimilated into the BSB database and tied to its Geographic Information System. "This data and mapping system will give us the ability to quickly identify potential problem areas within the system to determine where our budget dollars will get the proverbial 'most bang for our buck,'" Duffy continued.

"I welcomed the opportunity to put into practice the engineering principles and the knowledge that I have gained through the Engineering Department at Bluefield State College into a practical application with the Bluefield Stormwater Board," Mohler added. "Rebuilding catch basins, organizing and documenting blueprints, and inspecting our city's stormwater infrastructure has provided valuable 'real world' experience that one can only get working in the field. I'm looking forward to working throughout the remainder of my senior year with Mr. Duffy and the Stormwater Board in completing the tasks that are assigned to me, and integral to the completion of this project."

"Jackson was initially hired as a summer intern. However, based on his exemplary work ethic, willingness to learn, and general knowledge of engineering practices, we have granted his request to extend his employment in a part-time role through the Spring 2014 semester," Duffy continued. "He has proven to be a diligent self-starter needing minimal supervision to remain on task and accomplish expectations."