Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sky Schelle's Visit! By: Ashley, Jordan & Alex

During  the city Stormwater Coordinator, Sky Schelle, visited our class in preparation for our evaluation of a vacant lot for a potential stormwater detention area. We learned that stormwater is a bath for the surface of the earth that flows into our storm system where it is combined with our sewage system (i.e a combined sewer). Depending on the age of the city sanitary waste and stormwater waste are either combined in the same underground pipe, or kept separate. Many older, impoverished areas have combined systems  that contribute storm overflow waste directly into rivers.  This is the case for Springfied, that contributes combined sewage overflow directly into Buck Creek during many storms. Stormwater treatment at plants is extremely expensive for cities to compensate. In Springfield, it might total $150 million to bury tunnels to hold excess water until treatment plants able to handle additional capacity. Fortunately, vacant lots might be a place where stormwater can be detained and landscapes restored.   Water health only improves if we treat water for wastes before it is released into local runoff spots including creaks, ponds, lakes.. One of Sky's purpose as a stormwater coordinator is to consider ways to reduce sewage overflow. One way to reduce the need for buried tunnel capacity, is to is to restore vacant landscapes to detain stormwater runoff. Land might be re-purposed in community beautification project and creating catch basins, such as rain gardens or wetlands, to catch storm water until it has time to be properly treated.

Source: Watershed Coalition River des Peres, Missouri
Caption: This is a depiction of dry vs. wet weather flow of wastewater and the treatment of combined sewer pollution.

Source: Street Stormwater Drainage Project
Caption: This image serves as a improvement method example for cities to implement community beautification projects to provide basins for excess storm water. 

Lumpkin rain garden

* This post has been edited by Dr. Fortner.

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