I just read a most interesting article share by Molly Reed, our Training Specialist about a new playground in the city that soaks up it’s storm water. Much planning, design and construction went into this project to build a playground on a public school complex of which this area continuously flooded with every heavy rainfall. This $1 million playground renovation was undertaken by the Trust for Public Land and the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, a partnership to turn 40 asphalt covered play space into weapons against water pollution, very interesting concept, wouldn’t you say.
The goal was to capture between 500,000 and 700,000 gallons of storm water per year. This would divert rain water from the city’s treatment plants which is an important part of an emerging network of green infrastructure. Nearly 30 billion gallons of raw sewage and polluted storm water are discharged into local waterways each year when sewage plants are overwhelmed. These overflows can be triggered up to 75 times a year, according to environmental groups and they report these to be the biggest water quality challenge in the New York area, preventing rivers and bays from meeting federal standards for swimming, fishing and wildlife habitats.
Instead of relying on traditional holding tanks and tunnels, the program uses green roofs, gardens, engineered soils and porous surfaces to capture and retain stormwater runoff, with landscape and gardens. Now, in addition to the newly planted zelkova and elm trees, the playground’s bioswale is a giant container garden designed to absorb and filter runoff water, measuring 8 by 129 feet, with sandy soil holding sweetbay magnolias, red twig dogwoods and sedges that can handle flooding. Drains in the playground direct the rain water toward the bioswale.