A Paradigm Shift in Urban Runoff

Christine MacDonald looks at efforts by everyone from home gardeners to municipal water authorities to rethink and rebuild the infrastructure to handle urban runoff.
January 30, 2012, 2pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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As cities across the country seek to improve the quality of their waterways by ending the "scourge of sewerage overflows" and polluted runoff, efforts large and small are contributing to capturing and filtering rain water where it falls.

"Once, cities were built to channel storm water away from building foundations and roadways. But as urban areas have grown, rooftops, streets and other impervious surfaces have disrupted cities' natural hydrology. Today, everyone from water authorities to home gardeners are looking to absorb rain where it falls, eschewing traditional treatment plants and underground sewerage tunnels that effectively neutralize runoff, but don't do much else.", writes MacDonald.

Beautifying streets, saving money, and providing habitat for wildlife are just some of the benefits of such efforts.

See also our recent feature on moving Beyond Low Impact Development for a more in-depth analysis of the current challenges, and five proposed strategies, for effective stormwater management.

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Published on Friday, January 27, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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