FSI: University of Illinois Fire Service Institute 12:30-1:50 TR


Contact Information

Brian R. Brauer, Associate Director

11 Gerty Drive, Champaign, Illinois 61820




Organization Mission

Our mission is to provide training, education, research, and information to the over 1,100 fire departments and 40,000 firefighters in Illinois. In FY 13, IFSI reached over 65,000 students statewide in pursuit of this mission, with some of those students coming from across the United States, and some from China and Canada.

Problems and/or Opportunities 

IFSI conducts live-burn training exercises in several concrete and metal buildings. Wooden pallets and straw are used as ignition sources. After the trainings, staff wash ash and combustion debris to a filtration system. This system reduces the amount of debris from entering the storm sewers and adjacent receiving stream during typical low flow events. However, there was a single event in which several fire hydrants were opened during a wash down releasing a large volume of water that overwhelmed and bypassed FSI's filtration system.

Although the University's Clean Water Act, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit No. ILR400523 allows firefighting water to enter a receiving stream, the runoff must not be "a substantial contributor of pollutants." Carbonaceous material in firefighting water runoff is considered a pollutant. Moreover, it causes the receiving stream to become discolored and turbid thereby potentially violating the Illinois Environmental Protection Act.

FSI's filtration system needs to be improved to reduce the amount of runoff from the site, improve the quality of the runoff, and mitigate the risk of any water quality violations.

Solutions and Projects 

It is anticipated that FSI will enlist the services of a landscape architect to design and produce construction documents for a bio swale. The students in the LINC class could research the issue and provide a better foundation for the landscape architect design team. Some of the questions that will need to be answered by the students are as follows:

  • What is the current volume of storm water runoff entering the onsite storm sewers and ultimately discharged to the receiving stream?
  • What is the volume of hydrant water used during a typical wash down of the burn buildings?
  • In a worst case scenario event, what is the volume of hydrant water that could potentially be discharged during a wash down event?
  • What type of vegetation is best suited for this type of application? Tolerate the expected pollutants?
  • What type of vegetation would be beneficial for ecological burn training?
  • Other questions raised by the landscape architect that will prove beneficial in developing a design for the bio swale.

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