Why Care About Storm Water?
Ultimately, the source of all of our fresh water is the rain. The water cycle takes water from the oceans, and with it, recharges our fresh water supplies. Unfortunately, while we depend on rain for our survival, the meeting of rain and the urban environment can be a deadly affair. Rain washes oil and other contaminants off of impervious streets into the sewer, instead of soaking into the ground. When the flow is low, this is not a problem-the water is treated as other sewage. When a storm comes, however, and storm water overwhelms the system, the treatment plant may be forced to open the floodgates and dump raw sewage into the sea, where it is deadly for sea life, and where the contaminants can directly enter our food chain. With some very simple technologies and design specifications, however, this problem could be averted.
What Can I Do to Mitigate Storm Water?
- Avoid using impervious substances, like traditional asphalt and concrete for ground surfaces. Instead, use surfacing materials specially designed to allow water to soak through them and back into the ground, where it can recharge our fresh water supplies.
- Landscape with trees and thick shrubbery which will catch the rain, and allow whatever the plant doesn't use to soak into the ground.
- Dig a slight depression to landscape in, especially if you are on a slope-the water will collect here and be allowed time to soak into the ground instead of running off.
- Use your roof as a rain collector by surrounding it with gutters that flow through rain spouts into rain barrels, where the fresh water is stored, so you can use it to water your plants (it's better for your plants than treated tap water), or add to your grey water system.
Author: Nick Enge
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