Digging Deep

Kennesaw State student Adam Horton (left) and assistant professor of civil engineering Metin Oguzmert

Civil engineering project studies manufacturers’ stormwater containment system KENNESAW, Ga….

Georgia (Jul 17, 2015)

Civil engineering project studies manufacturers’ stormwater containment system

KENNESAW, Ga.  (July 17, 2015) — Kennesaw State’s engineering faculty and student researchers are digging for answers as part of a new study of an underground stormwater containment and water quality system.

With flooding a major problem in Georgia and the U.S., the research will help improve stormwater collection and treatment, and potentially reduce health problems, explained Metin Oguzmert, assistant professor of civil engineering.

“By participating in the improvement of such a unique system, Kennesaw State is helping to advance the well-being of not just our local community, but other communities where flooding is a major problem,” said Oguzmert, who is leading the research project along with civil engineering assistant professor M.A. Karim.

“Rainwater can cause serious health problems if left untreated, especially in populated areas,” he added. “This system captures the excessive water during an extreme weather event and prevents flooding in the site it was designed for, and also can filter most of the contaminants in the water.”

HydroLogic Solutions, a leading manufacturer of underground water control systems called StormChambers, sought the expertise of civil and construction engineering faculty and students in the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology to test the company’s new system over the next two years.

The team of Kennesaw State students and faculty will explore load capacity, pollutant removal ability and the impact of water flow on the system.  

The environmentally friendly system is typically buried beneath landscaped areas and parking lots to allow stormwater runoff and has a filtration system that readies the water for use in landscape irrigation and maintenance.  It was placed underground at the Marietta Campus, and rests 18 inches to 18 feet below the surface.

This $75,000 research project, funded by HydroLogic Solutions, bridges academia with industry and involves four engineering faculty with expertise in geotechnical, structural, environmental and mechanical engineering.

Students from several engineering classes also were assigned projects related to the StormChamber testing, where they performed engineering calculations, collected samples and took measurements at the site.

“This is true R&D, and students are able to gain hands-on experience in various engineering disciplines. They’ve conducted project cost estimation, site soil feasibility analysis, test loads calculations, design of the experiment setup and prepared site surveying plans,”said Oguzmert. “As an instructor, it is very exciting to see the synergy that is generated by the project-related assignments in the classroom.”

Adam Horton, one of the three civil engineering students working on the project long-term, will be going underground periodically to check on the testing equipment installed inside the system.

“We had to figure out how to test it,” Horton said. “This is a new product that hasn’t hit the market, so we can’t fudge numbers.”

Horton, who previously worked in commercial construction before enrolling at the university, has enjoyed working alongside the construction team.

To check the load-bearing capacity, several 3,500-pound cinder blocks were added to a dump truck that will pass over the site and temporarily rest on top of the underground system. To watch its impact below the surface, Horton and the team of students built a PVC pipe device that will hold testing meters and infrared cameras inside the buried drums.

“The project may look like construction, but it’s really practice in structural design work,” Horton explained.

The collaboration between HydroLogic Solutions and Kennesaw State’s engineering college began more than 18 months ago and will continue for several years of testing and simulation.

According to Robert Maestro, president and CEO of HydroLogic Solutions, university faculty and students are strength testing new products – including a thinner and larger StormChamber – in compliance with appropriate national testing standards. The students are also exploring the pollutant-removal capability of the StormChamber system with nationally accepted testing protocol.

“Our company wanted to work specifically with an engineering college to obtain the type of expertise necessary and bring credibility to the research,” said Maestro.

At the onset of the research study, two surveying classes, led by surveying and mapping lecturer Daniel Branham, were involved in the survey and site map as course projects.

“The students then used those drawings in a national surveying competition in the spring and won first place,” Oguzmert said. “There is a theoretical side to this research, but students are quick to find practical solutions.”

Another group of geotechnical students conducted soil testing prior to digging and will continue to monitor the area for soil compaction.

Students will use computer simulations and collect the data to make recommendations to the company for future product improvements.  “We want to understand how the chambers are behaving under heavy truck loads and offer suggestions to make the product even more stronger,” Oguzmert said. 

The StormChambers testing project is anticipated to take about two years to complete.


- Tiffany Capuano; photo by David Caselli 


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu