stormwater

Simple Strategies for Landscape Stormwater Management

Dry Swale

A long, permeable drainage ditch that allows stormwater to be filtered by plants and soil bacteria. These installations recharge groundwater reservoirs, and provide slow-release irrigation for a yard on a higher grade. [Image]


Bioretention Swale

A meandering swale, characterised by filtration layers (sand and silt) and a design that encourages storm runoff to remain as long as possible to allow sediment to settle and pollutants to be broken-down by vegetation. [Image]


Berm

An earthworks barrier with a raised grade, used in directing the flow of surface water. Berms are more resistant to erosion if anchored with vegetation. Often, they soak up excess surface water like a sponge. [Image]


Rain Garden

A garden with a deep, rich soil, planted in a depression over a well-draining substrate. Both swales and berms can channel water into rain gardens from many points in the garden. The rain garden is planted with flood-tolerant plants, often native species that are attractive to pollinators. Water that gathers in the depression slowly permeates the soil, all while being filtered into the water table and being re-directed from the sewer system. [Image]

vimeo

A video by Katie Campbell/KCTS 9 about what one neighborhood in Seattle is doing to better manage stormwater runoff.

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Dry Swales, Bioretention Swales, Berms, and Rain Gardens for Stormwater Management

Dry Swale

  • A long, permeable drainage ditch that allows stormwater to be filtered by plants and soil bacteria, recharges groundwater reservoirs, and provides gradual irrigation for a yard on a higher grade

Bioretention Swale

  • A meandering swale, characterised by filtration layers {sand and silt) and a design that encourages storm runoff to remain as long as possible to allow sediment to settle and pollutants to be broken-down. Usually planted.

Berm

  • An earthworks barrier, used in constructing water channels, such as swales. Berms are more resistant to erosion if planted.

Rain Garden

  • A garden with a deep, rich soil, planted in a depression over a well-draining substrate. Swales can channel water to rain gardens from many points in the garden. The rain garden is planted with flood-tolerant plants. On the way to the rain garden, the water soaks through the walls of the swale and is filtered, finally arriving in the depression, and gradually permeating the soil, all while being filtered into the water table and being re-directed from the sewer system

Images:

  1. Landscapeonline.com
  2. Stormwatercenter.net
  3. ThisOldHouse
  4. ThisOldHouse
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It must be kismet: it rained last night, just in time for me to see that the water-purifying storm drain was functioning properly!

The sand and rough drainage layer is functioning to hold the soil down, so the water in the reservoir is quite clear and undistrurbed. The water will be even clearer once the seeds planted on the banks germinate to prevent erosion, and the aquatic irises start purifying the water.

I believe the whole structure has a capacity for about 400-500 litres of water in total. If we get a stretch of rain, I imagine it will fill about 2/3 of the way with the surface water from the landscape. This is good news for the local birds, who like having a clean place to bathe, drink, swim, and frolic!

Living Roofs Reduce Stormwater Runoff

by Karin Heineman, Inside Science TV

A good rainfall is vital for plants, trees and grass. But rain falling on roofs, concrete and roads poses a problem for the environment. This is because the runoff can carry pollutants directly into lakes, streams and rivers.

One solution to reduce this stormwater runoff is what is known as a green roof–a roof covered in living, growing plants. Architect Elizabeth Grant at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va. is testing how effective the roofs are at controlling urban runoff.

“Instead of having a plain roof that just has water coursing off of it all the time, you put the plants on there to hold the water for a period of time to slow down the flow of water off of it,” said Grant.

Keep reading

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HOLD IT, PICASSO!

Water soluble does NOT mean water safe!

Painted Turtle is a broadcast PSA that informs homeowners and the public how seemingly harmless substances flushed into the storm drain cause havoc in our waterways.  The average person is uninformed about the dangers of illicit discharges.  Sgt. Red is on a mission to educate our viewers and push them in the right direction.  In the process, he rebrands the slightly rebellious-sounding “illicit discharges” into a catchphrase that is decidedly not cool – dishonorable discharges

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Due to the huge amount of water I am dealing with these days, I created some stormwater reservoirs under my permeable pathways.

I took up a few of the bricks, added perpendicular paving stones, filled the channel with broken bricks to hold the structure in place, and added larger paving slabs on top.

This is not a permanent installation, as soil and sand will eventually erode into the structure, but it only takes about 30 minutes to do when it needs renewal.

In times where water is short, I can easily lift the paving slabs and fill it in.

#pathways #DIY #rainwater harvesting 

Green Infrastructure Turns Rain into a Resource, not a Pollution Source
New York City, like hundreds of older cities around the country, can’t stand the rain. With so much paved area, and so little ground to soak up the water, the city’s sewer system can get overwhelmed by a mere tenth of an inch of rainfall, triggering the discharge of polluted runoff from streets mixed with untreated sewage into the nearest water body. Anyone who’s walked along the Hudson River the morning after a storm knows what this looks like.

For New York, excess stormwater is one of the biggest sources of water pollution in the city. It’s a 30-billion-gallon-a-year problem.

The traditional approach to stormwater management is to treat it like garbage, as waste that needs to be disposed of. But a growing number of cities have recently embraced an innovative new approach to stormwater that transforms this “waste” into a resource that will improve neighborhoods. By building out a suite of solutions known as green infrastructure–including features like porous pavement, street plantings, and green roofs—city landscapes can absorb rainwater where it falls.  Instead of washing straight into the sewer system and triggering sewage discharges, this water can be used as nature intended, to nurture trees and plants, keeping neighborhoods cooler, greener, and the air cleaner.  Read more.