2017-10-12 / Front Page

UNH students asked to help solve Newport’s water woes


NEWPORT — In April of 2018 Newport officials will know a lot more about Gilman Pond in Unity, the town’s main source of water, than it does today.

And this information won’t cost the town any money, thanks to the University of New Hampshire Capstone Program.

At UNH, the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department requires that all graduating seniors participate in its Capstone design experience.

This year-long class presents students with an opportunity to work as part of a team to apply engineering, communication and management skills to an interdisciplinary project.

UNH officials contacted companies, municipalities and public agencies to request proposals for engineering project for the course.

Projects that include multiple engineering disciplines such as structural, geotechnical, mechanical, electrical, environmental, and water resources were strongly encouraged.

After reading that communication back in June, Newport Town Manager Hunter Rieseberg saw an opportunity for Newport to learn more about the Gilman Pond area and its future for supplying Newport with much of its water.

The proposal requests were due by Aug. 1 to allow adequate time for compilation before classes began at the Durham campus.

Rieseberg made his Gilman Pond Project presentation before the class and it was selected as one that fit the goals of the Capstone mission. For the next several months Newport will have three students involved in the Capstone project to perform the work being requested by Newport. The three students have already started.

From October through December the students will develop and submit a Preliminary Design Report. Between February and March they will submit their updated report.

In April the three students will present their project findings at UNH’s Undergraduate Research Conference and clients are encouraged to attend. Their Final Design Report will be submitted in May when they make a final presentation of their Capstone at UNH to a UNH advisor, review panel and their client.

Clients, in this case, Newport will provide feedback to the faculty advisor on the project Final Design Report and presentation for a grade assignment.

During the fall and spring semesters, students will continue their project development to address deliverable information outlined in the scope of services

Clients will provide project guidance, information, and support as requested by the students or as they feel is needed to keep the project on task.

Project teams will conduct meetings, live or virtual, as appropriate.

Clients will also provide feedback, as appropriate, on project submissions.

Students will communicate with the client via progress reports on a regular interval as determined by the Project team.

Rieseberg provided the engineering class with background information on Newport during his visit to UNH. He mentioned the town is rural in nature and consists of approximately 45 square miles and has 6,500 resident and currently supplies approximately 1,500 water service connections requiring up to 500,000 gallons per day.

“Like most municipalities, Newport suffers from outdated and deteriorating infrastructure, well beyond its current means to address,” Rieseberg said.

Talking about Newport’s challenge, Riese-berg said the town is largely dependent upon a single source of water for all its residential, industrial and fire protection needs, Gilman Pond, 231 acres. “For the last several years the town has experienced a persistent drought,” he continued.

Rieseberg explained that by using the data collected by a bathymetric survey of the water source, he hopes the students can locate and recommend a site for the relocation and development of a new water intake thereby providing for better water quality, and access to a larger water source.

“With your assistance, the town is hoping to address a persistent and serious problem that has plagued us for years, adversely impacting the community, its industry, its residents and its overall quality of life,” Rieseberg told the students.

“As a land grant institution, we hope that you will see this as an opportunity to apply your skills to resolve real life problems for 6,500 real life people here in the State of New Hampshire that will have benefits for decades to come,” Riesebeg concluded.

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