The University of Notre Dame announced plans to build a research center to study human impact on the environment. The center will look for ways to reconcile competing economic and environmental interests. For example, the center wants to discover how to reduce damage from fertilizer runoff on water systems. They will create two watersheds they can manipulate in ways that are too risky in natural water systems. Variables will include the temperature and amount of water moving through the water shed.
The ground breaking ceremony for this $1 million center took place on Friday, June 15, in St. Joseph County’s St. Patrick’s Park. Notre Dame will build the water systems on 6 of the 28 acres they are leasing for $1 per year. Construction should be finished by the fall with experiments projected to begin in the spring. Experiments will be done by students from Notre Dame and other universities. Programs will also be created for younger students.
The public will also be able to use the internet to keep an eye on conditions in the center. The South Bend community will appreciate this after being forced to address a several environmental problems within the last year.
In December, the city of South Bend agreed to improve its sewer systems and reduce overflow into the St. Joseph River at a projected cost of $509.5 million. These improvements will reduce raw sewage discharge events by 95 percent and prevent over 700,000 lbs of pollutants from the St. Joseph River every year.
Last summer, the nearby city of Elkhart agreed to clean up a local Superfund site at the old Himco landfill. Homeowners with wells had switched to city water due to contamination from medical and industrial waste. The EPA continues work removing contaminated soil, installing a gas management system, and developing a groundwater monitoring program.