Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Low Impact, Green Solutions Fix Older City Water Infrastructures

22.11.2011
Like every older American city — and old cities across the globe — Philadelphia faces the daunting challenge of maintaining and upgrading its aging, and at times outdated, water and sewer infrastructure. While national and state funding sources continue to decline, cities must find innovative ways to comply with increasing regulatory requirements to improve performance and meet regulatory standards.

A new study by Jeffrey Featherstone, director of Temple’s Center for Sustainable Communities and a professor of Community and Regional Planning, examines how Philadelphia is tackling the problem head-on through the city’s “Green City Clean Waters Program (GCCW).”

“One of the major stormwater problems in many older American cities is combined sewer overflows (CSO) — sanitation sewers and storm sewers are connected. During high rainfall events, sewage may discharge into rivers and streams — it’s a problem happening in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and cities all over the world,” said Featherstone, who examined Philadelphia’s GCCW program as a case study for the implementation of proper green infrastructure. The study was conducted with the Philadelphia Water Department’s Office of Watersheds.

According to Featherstone, the Green City Clean Waters Program seeks to integrate water resources management “into the socioeconomic fabric of the city.”

“It is the centerpiece of a larger city effort to promote sustainability through improved stormwater management. Through a projected municipal investment of more than $2 billion and an innovative stormwater billing program, the GCCW expects to transform Philadelphia into a vibrant, green and sustainable city,” said Featherstone, who detailed the study of Philadelphia’s program as the only American presenter at a week-long conference hosted by the International Society of City and Regional Planners held in Wuhan, China in late October. “Instead of completely replacing the existing infrastructure with separate water and sewer systems of underground tunnels and storage tanks — which would be substantively cost prohibitive at about $17 billion — the city is embarking on a program that would solve 85 percent of the problem over a 25 to 30-year period by using low impact development (LID) and green infrastructure that would mediate the stormwater before it reaches the underground gray infrastructure.”

LID alternatives include greening methods such as green roofs, rain gardens, rain barrels, stormwater tree trenches and planters, permeable paving and concrete, and flow-through planters, systems that not only help control the flow of stormwater by returning the rainfall back to a normal hydrologic cycle but also help filter pollutants. A parcel-based billing system that emphasizes LID approaches over impervious surfaces would also assess fees on significant producers of runoff in relation to their contribution to stormwater runoff, encouraging landowners to implement sustainable stormwater management practices, said Featherstone.

The city isn’t just examining the potential economic benefits of the GCCW program but the social and environmental impacts as well — a “triple bottom line analysis,” he said.

“While there are numerous options for controlling CSO events and urban runoff, implementation of green or low impact development will provide benefits across the board — increased property values, reduced heat island effect, reduced airborne pollutants and CO2 emissions,” Featherstone said.

The green approach includes numerous additional positive outcomes, such as an anticipated 193 acres of wetlands created, a reduction in heat-related deaths by nearly 200, substantial electricity and natural gas savings due to the cooling effect of trees, a decrease of more than 1 million metric tons of CO2 emissions, and the creation of thousands of green collar jobs.

According to Featherstone, Philadelphia’s stormwater management approach could work “anywhere from Manilla to Johannesburg to Beijing, anywhere that the combined sewer overflow problem exists.”

“It just requires a city with the will to do it. The true bottom line is that a greener city is simply a much more attractive place to live,” he said. “It is becoming clearer every day the interconnectedness that exists between our cities and global ecosystems. It is important for all big cities to take responsibility for their damaged ecosystems.”

For more information about the Philadelphia Green City Clean Waters study, contact the Center for Sustainable Communities at 267-468-8311 or www.ambler.temple.edu/csc.

James Duffy | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.temple.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>