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Juniors Amber Tse and Jenna Weinhofer work to clean out the Carlsbad Lagoon.

Juniors Amber Tse and Jenna Weinhofer work to clean out the Carlsbad Lagoon.

Courtesy of Jenna Weinhofer

Courtesy of Jenna Weinhofer

Juniors Amber Tse and Jenna Weinhofer work to clean out the Carlsbad Lagoon.

SWPPP Students – Keeping It Clean

May 8, 2018

Only in its second year at SDA, the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP) has made an impact on campus and in the community. Student interns spoke at the First Friday with the principal on May 4 about what the program is and what they have accomplished.

Selected applicants become interns with the program and receive community service hours for participating, and the internship is recognized by colleges. The student-based program learns about the effects of stormwater pollution on SDA’s campus and in the community. They then use what they learn to take action.

SDA currently has 30 SWPPPers that have focused their efforts this year in raising awareness and making physical improvements to SDA.

In the meeting, the three student representatives, senior Jack Severson and juniors Jenna Weinhofer and Dylan Lee, shared with the administrators and parents specific problems they have addressed.

Through rain sampling, lab and in-class testing, the student interns analyzed  data to  develop solutions to lessen the amount of pollutants that flow into campus drains. For a drain  by the softball field, SWPPP students dug trenches around the drain and used rocks to lessen the amount of dirt that gets into the filter. Other solutions have included replacing drain filters and grates, implementing new drainage systems with rocks and pipes, and cleaning out drains and the parking lot.

Overall, the group has cleaned out 10 storm drains, fixed six drains with rocks, pipes, and screens, collaborated on the Mosaic Hillside Bioretention, replaced two rusted and decaying grates, and obtained two rain barrels to be installed on campus.

In terms of outreach and awareness, the group painted a drain mural near the Mosaic, created and posted 30 “You are the Filter” posters, produces a PSA video, assisted three elementary schools on drain murals, and hosted a community event where they cleaned 123 pounds of trash out of the Carlsbad lagoon.

SWPPP on SDA’s campus is completely funded by the City of Encinitas, which sets aside a budget specifically for the group to work towards meeting regulations and recommendations set by the city and the Environmental Protection Agency.

“SDA is the very first high school to have a SWPPP program,” said advisor Patti Diaz. “We started with Encinitas Unified School District, so we have all nine elementary schools running SWPPP programs. We’re based here in Encinitas, but we’ve branched out and now Carlsbad High School has a SWPPP program as well. As we are expanding the program, SWPPP is already county recognized and state recognized.”

Weinhofer, presentation supervisor for the group, said, “It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and make a difference in the community. All of us really love SDA, we want to make it a better place, and so SWPPP is how we can do our part to make a difference. Even when we leave SDA in the near future, we will have made a lasting impact.”

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