Stormwater Research Facility hosts weeklong training and conference for more than 300 industry professionals

Published: Jun 5, 2024 1:00 PM

By Dustin Duncan

The Auburn University - Stormwater Research Facility hosted more than 300 stormwater professionals in May during its Stormwater Week to train, inform and demonstrate the latest techniques and research in stormwater management.

The May 13-17 event included a Hands-on Erosion and Sediment Control Installer Training on Monday and Tuesday at the stormwater facility, the 10th annual IECA Municipal Wet Weather Stormwater (MS4) Conference at the Brown-Kopel Center on Auburn’s campus on Wednesday and Thursday, and then a Stormwater Field Day back at the facility on Friday.

Two men use a sledgehammer to put a stick in the ground.
Two participants in the Stormwater Research Facility’s Installer Training hammer a wooden stick into the ground.

Michael Perez, director of the Stormwater Research Facility and Brasfield & Gorrie associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, said the week was a success, and the information learned throughout the week can be immediately implemented into practices used across the country.

“The work we were able to share during Auburn’s Stormwater Week was very important because we are continuing to help industry professionals protect water resources throughout the southeast and beyond,” Perez said. “We are making sure our contractors meet their environmental commitments, and the results of our research are directly translatable to the real world. They're implementable right away.”

Because the week is broken into three separate events, Auburn had the opportunity to shine by teaching, demonstrating, and showing off its hospitality.

Wesley Donald, research fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, said attendees from throughout the southeast and as far as Colorado came to learn about different ways to install standard practices, from silt fences to inlet protection and ditch checks.

“They were given a hands-on opportunity to install stormwater control measures using the innovative means we shared in the half-day classroom portion and applying it in the field at our research facility,” he said. “We demonstrated how these practices are best applied to be successful and can fail if not installed properly.”

Auburn also invited engineers and industry professionals, including staff from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, to attend the events as part of a technical assistance and training grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide educational resources and stormwater management workshops for communities in Alabama’s rural communities.

The MS4 Conference, which is hosted by the International Erosion Control Association and the Environmental Protection Agency Region 4, was also a big hit.

Joanna Fetherolf, managing director of IECA, said Auburn hosted a top-notch conference and was the perfect host for the 2024 conference.

"Auburn University's hospitality during the 2024 IECA conference was fantastic,” she said. “With its outstanding facilities and world-class presenters, they provided an enriching and productive experience. After the conference, they further excelled by hosting an informative and fun field day at their Stormwater Research Facility, giving industry professionals hands-on learning and further networking opportunities."

Although the field day at the end of the week was dampened by heavy rainfall most of the day, stormwater professionals braved the elements while Perez and other Auburn stormwater researchers showcased their research. Participants also saw innovative products from vendors throughout the southeast.

A man in a black raincoat talks while it’s raining.
Michael Perez, director of the Stormwater Research Facility continues teaching during the field day during a rain shower.

“I can’t say enough about the week of training we were able to provide to those who came to our Stormwater Week,” Perez said. “We even had a surprise visitor in Aubie stop by to help demonstrate by spraying hydromulch.”

Auburn mascot Aubie sprays hydromulch in the rain to the delight of the field day participants.
Auburn mascot Aubie sprays hydromulch in the rain to the delight of the field day participants.

The installer training and field day is an annual event hosted by the Stormwater Research Facility.

Media Contact: Dustin Duncan ,, 334-844-2326
two men construct a fence

Participants attending Auburn University - Stormwater Research Facility’s Stormwater Week Installer Training construct a fence on Tuesday, May 14 at the facility in Opelika.

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