Minnegram Summer 2015
When Elizabeth Henley graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Juris Doctorate from the Law School spring 2015 and graduates with a master’s degree in Water Resources Sciences (WRS) next spring, she will have come full circle. From romping along the shores of local lakes as a child, to travelling the world learning about global environmental issues, Henley aims to apply her freshly honed skills to water issues here in the Upper Midwest.
Minnesota is well-regarded for plentiful and clean rest stops along its highways. Below the surface however, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDot) wondered how well the 52 rest stops served by subsurface sewage treatment systems (SSTS) were functioning and if the systems met environmental and public health protection standards. With this concern in mind, MnDOT approved a grant for the university’s Onsite Sewage Treatment Program (OSTP) to evaluate rest area septic systems across the state.
Prairie pothole wetlands of the Northern Great Plains are highly impaired systems resulting from agricultural encroachment, oil exploration, and climate change. The impacts range from habitat degradation and changes in the make-up of microbial communities to herbicide contamination and loss of floodwater storage.