According to the Environmental Protection Agency, green infrastructure is a cost-effective, resilient approach to managing wet weather impacts and it provides many community benefits. Single-purpose gray stormwater infrastructure (that is, your average, conventional piped drainage and water treatment system waterflow mechanism) is designed to move urban stormwater away from built environments…however, green infrastructure reduces and treats stormwater at its source — while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits.
Stormwater Runoff Is A Major Cause Of Water Pollution In Urban Areas
When rain falls on our roofs, streets, and parking lots throughout cities and their suburbs, the water cannot soak into the ground as it should. Stormwater drains through gutters, storm sewers, and other engineered collection systems and is discharged into nearby water bodies.
- The stormwater runoff carries trash, bacteria, heavy metals, and other pollutants from the urban landscape.
- Higher flows resulting from heavy rains also can cause erosion and flooding in urban streams, damaging habitat, property, and infrastructure.
When Rain Falls In Natural, Undeveloped Areas, The Water Is Absorbed And Filtered By Soil And Plants.
Stormwater runoff is cleaner and less of a problem when it returns to the earth naturally.
- Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and other elements and practices to restore some of the natural processes required to manage water and create healthier urban environments.
- At the city or county scale, green infrastructure is a patchwork of natural areas that provides habitat, flood protection, cleaner air, and cleaner water. At the neighborhood or site scale, stormwater management systems that mimic nature soak up and store water.
Serpico Landscaping invites you to learn more about these green infrastructure elements that can be woven into a community for true water conservation — from small-scale elements integrated into sites or dwellings — to larger scale elements spanning entire watersheds.
Water from the roof flows from this disconnected downspout into the ground through a filter of pebbles. This simple practice reroutes rooftop drainage pipes from draining rainwater into the storm sewer to draining it into rain barrels, cisterns, or permeable areas (such as aerated soil or a garden or green way). You can use it to store stormwater and/or allow stormwater to infiltrate into the soil. Downspout disconnection could be especially beneficial to cities with combined sewer systems.
This rainwater harvesting system is adapted to the architecture of the building and its surroundings. Rainwater harvesting systems collect and store rainfall for later use. When designed appropriately, they slow and reduce runoff and provide a source of water. This practice could be particularly valuable in arid regions, where it could reduce demands on increasingly limited water supplies.
A rain garden can be beautiful as well as functional. Rain gardens conserve water and are versatile features that can be installed in almost any unpaved space.
During rain storms the municipal systems are overburdened. Sewage treatment plants cannot treat the excess water which many times results in untreated or partially treated sewage water being discharged into our waterways.
Sewage system capacity has been outpaced by population and building growth over the years. Increasing capacity would be extremely costly and interruptive. Cities are trying to find other means to reduce the amount of water and waste their undersized systems must handle.
Anyway to reduce rain water run-off in the municipal sewer system is being implemented across the nation. The purpose of a rain garden is to keep rain water from run-off — by letting rainwater absorb into land on a property and not transverse into the sewer system.
Also known as bio-retention, or bio-infiltration, cells, they are shallow, vegetated basins that collect and absorb runoff from rooftops, sidewalks, and streets. This practice mimics natural hydrology by infiltrating, and evaporating and transpiring—or “evapotranspiring”— stormwater runoff.
Bioswales are essentially rain gardens placed in long narrow spaces such as the space between the sidewalk and the curb. Bioswales are vegetated, mulched, or xeriscaped channels that provide treatment and retention as they move stormwater from one place to another. Vegetated swales slow, infiltrate, and filter stormwater flows. As linear features, they are particularly well suited to being placed along streets and parking lots.
Green Streets And Alleys
Green streets combine more than one feature to capture and treat stormwater. Green streets and alleys are created by integrating green infrastructure elements into their design to store, infiltrate, and evapotranspire stormwater.
Permeable pavement, bioswales, planter boxes, and trees are among the elements that can be woven into street or alley design. Talk to us about which of these ideas you love! As a locally certified green business in the SF Bay Area, Serpico Landscaping’s teams have relentless admiration for rain gardens, bioswales — and all things green and money-saving!