Saturday, March 19, 2011

Philadelphia International Flower Show

Phildelphia Water Department - Three examples of urban stormwater management: a sidewalk stormwater planter, porous pavers and a downspout planter in Philadelphia Water Department’s “Green City, Clean Waters

To me the heart of the Flower Show has always been in the educational displays.

Through the Office of Watersheds, “Green City, Clean Waters” program is a huge step in the right direction.

I’m not sure why anyone thought that raised planter beds in parking lots were a good idea.
Mounded high, water runs off the beds and adds more waste water to the paved surface. The raised beds dry out faster and make it tough for trees and plants to survive. Don’t even get me started about the cones of mulch piled around trees. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the planters at or lower than the paved surface to accept some of the runoff and filter it through the soil.

Runoff from parking lots, yards, farm fields and streets picks up pollutants such as trash, leaky engine fluids, animal waste, excess lawn chemicals, etc. and washes them into the storm drains to creeks and streams.

So the Philadelphia Water Department’s L'art de l'eau (The Art of Water) was a welcomed surprise. Capturing some of that runoff using flow-through planters, porous pavers, and vegetated curb bump-outs, reduces the amount of pollution entering storm drains. If municipalities require sustainable practices in storm water management, they will contribute to clean and reliable water for fishing, swimming and drinking.

Philadelphia is making a difference.

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