Excess stormwater is a longstanding problem many urban settings encounter. Typical drainage systems can become overrun in times of heavy rain, and existing infrastructure systems are starting to reach the end of their lifespan. New, sustainable designs and implementation can not only help alleviate current stormwater management problems, but can help create a better and often cheaper solution for cities.
In the past, stormwater has always been lumped together with wastewater. While stormwater certainly can contain hazardous toxins and oils collected through runoff, modern builders and designers are starting to realize that stormwater is a valuable resource. Currently, in most cities, stormwater is collected and redirected with very expensive gray water infrastructure. This can be anything from pipes, drains, gutters, or collection tanks. When a heavy rainfall occurs, these gray water systems are often overrun, which results in a massive amount of tainted water entering the local waterways.
Cities also face another challenge with current gray water systems. Many plumbing systems currently in place are approaching the end of their lifespans. In order to replace current infrastructure, the project is not only disruptive but extremely high priced.
In today's world, with heightened storms, prolonged periods of drought, and the increasing complications of climate change, stormwater is now being viewed as a valuable resource. As such, stormwater is being treated in a much more green and eco-friendly fashion that greatly differs from traditional gray water solutions.
Soil-water-plant systems are being implemented across the country. These systems are designed to help filter and slow the rate of water surging through gray water plumbing during a storm. Filtering the water can remove sediment, oils, bacteria, and other hazardous materials from entering local waterways. In many green stormwater systems, 80% of solids are removed from the water by filtration. By slowing the rate of water flow, this allows for a portion of the water to be filtered by plants and some water to be evaporated. The remaining water then trickles into the gray water system, which reduces the water flow and increases the usable life of current infrastructure in place.
Major cities, such as New York City, are already seeing the benefits of using sustainable stormwater solutions through the city. Project managers created an estimate of $6.8 billion to replace and enhance current gray water plumbing throughout the city in a project that would span 20 years. By weaving some green water management solutions with current infrastructure, New York was able to reduce the bid by $1.5 billion.
At Gausman & Moore, we employ a team of plumbing engineers who are passionate about creating eco-friendly solutions to longstanding processes for stormwater management. We care about the environment and understand the various challenges an urban setting can present. To learn more about how we can help with your current project, contact our team today!