"Green" Stormwater management - a Superquick Introduction.
This sketch, or study as I often call them, when installed and realized in the world, will take approximately 250,000 gallons of stormwater per year, capture it, filter it, and infiltrate it back into the ground water.
"What is Green Infrastructure" is a wide ranging question - but I may suggest it is a critical position towards the development of the everyday machinery that runs a town or city. The city, as something built and designed, has to do things. It needs to deliver water, take away garbage, sewage, bring electric, fuel for heat, etc.
One of the major infrastructural components in the city is the system that drains away the water when it rains. Those grates that you find every so often in the street, the small concrete swales, ditches, all the way up to less recognizable forms such as the retention pond, flood basin, or, well, the nearest stream or river.
When it rains, the water can't go anywhere. It falls onto roofs, parking areas, and streets and can't move into the ground because these surfaces are hard and "impervious" to water. So, it is generally planned in any development to have this water carried away somehow.
In dealing with stormwater, there is first the concern that as stormwater moves over these surfaces it picks up and flushes away what accumulates on it - antifreeze, leaked oil, tire ware, etc. This often is carried directly into the nearest waterway, and then, your drinking water - simultaneously affecting wild and plantlife. Secondly, especially in the older cities, (BUFFALO!) the infrastucture - storm sewer - was designed before parking lots of the expansion of certain types of development. So, these "infrastructural systems" can't handle the heavy load of runoff. So, in a heavy rain, the system overflows and the contaminants fail to be contained.
Managing stormwater on site is specific to that site. Not every town or city has the same design to handle stormwater as well as the soils of each site demand specifically designed systems.
So, as part of landscape design and site development we are looking for ways to prevent water from flowing into the storm sewer. "Green Technologies" such as the Bioretention Cells, Swales, and permeable paving allow water to be "captured" and "impounded" in the landscape.
And so the plan above will impound a quarter million gallons per year. And, its only a parking lot with about 25 parking spaces.
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Landscape designer and Proprietor of Buffalo Horticulture