Stormwater Management Begins At The Street Or Parking Lot
Mary and Richard next visit the John Paul Jones Arena and although quite a distance away, they're still in the Meadow Creek watershed area. This is actually the low point of Meadow Creek on the University grounds. From here the water enters the city sewer system. When they built this 15,000 seat arena several years ago they had to be particularly mindful of how they would handle the water falling on the impervious surface (the parking lot) so that it did not cause problems for the city or community downstream. The story of stormwater management here begins right in the middle of the parking lot, on the crowned area. The water falls to either side, then when it hits the curb it is introduced to the cuts in the curbing. They allow the water into the low median area. Importantly one doesn't need a parking lot to use this technique. Homeowners could use the idea of curbing cuts on their property. They allow capture of the water before it really builds up. Once the water enters the curb cuts the stone channel in the center of the island allows water to be somewhat aerated and slowed down as it enters the filtration bed. And, aeration is important. The roughness of the stone surface introduces some turbulence into the flow of the water which adds oxygen and is part of the cleansing process. From there the water goes into the turf and the soil. The soil filters the particulates and the grease out of the runoff from the parking lot, allowing the water to pass into the ground in a cleaner state than when it entered the swell. An interesting fact is that as water moves through the turf and into the soil there are millions, if not billions of microbes that are gobbling up all the pollution, the oil and so forth. It's all a natural process. This area has manicured turf, other grasses could have been utilized. Turf was used here first and foremost because this is an athletic facility and they like the more manicured look of turf. The arena is associated with their other athletic facilities around the University grounds, so rather than a wild native grass look, similar to what we saw at the dell earlier, they opted for turf. But, the process functions exactly the same way, whether turf grass or taller native grass. This was just a more comfortable setting for the Arena. As it most likely would be with a homeowner. A homeowner could have a manicured look and still accomplish the same thing. And that was the point here. One doesn't need to have a wild native landscape in order to have a sustainable practice like this. Regardless of the grasses or plants used this approach is better for the environment, certainly better than the conventional engineering solution.
By Justin Hancock, Costa Farms Horticulturist
Photographs courtesy of Costa Farms
Justin has written a great article about the Tradescantia family of plants, how they’re a diverse selection of delightful and easy-care plants we can enjoy indoors and out.
To read the article, click here .
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