A short talk to municipal leaders about new stormwater techniques used on the University of South Alabama (USA) campus led to more questions than Dr. Kevin White had time to answer.
“So much so that we had to cut off questions because they had other agenda items at this meeting,” White said. “I was only supposed to talk for five minutes or so … One of the mayors or commissioners said if there was any way you could have a workshop on this so that we can all educate ourselves, city officials, our public works directors and the people on the ground in the government organizations, that would be great.”
Since that time there have been several workshops offered to officials from governments around both Mobile and Baldwin counties. The next one is Jan. 30 at the USA Faculty Club from noon until 4 p.m. It is open to local governments and the general public and includes lunch. Tickets are $40 and enrollment is available online.
“It’s really designed so government officials locally can come to this stormwater management workshop specifically focusing on low-impact development practices,” White said.
In addition to White speaking on the low-impact development practices used on campus, there will be presentations from Dr. Eve Brantley of Auburn University, Katie Dylewski of the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, Dan Ballard from the city of Auburn and a representative from the Advanced Drainage Systems company.
The day will conclude with a tour of the campus and places where these new techniques have been employed.
“We put in these what we call low-impact development practices that are basically landscape, gravel infiltration beds so they look nice on campus,” White said. “But they actually capture a fair amount of stormwater runoff and soak it into the ground instead of it running down the hill and going into an inlet and then into a pipe and then into Three Mile Creek. The performance is something like 75 to 80 percent sediment removal in these devices as compared to when we didn’t have these devices.
“Workshop showcases new techniques to manage stormwaterart of the goal is to reduce the sediment that White said previously filled up nearby Langan Park Lake to an extent that, today, it is only about six inches deep. But reducing the flow of sediment is just part of the goal hoped for with these new practices.
It’s a quantity issue so we can detain, we can infiltrate,” White said. “But it’s also a quality issue because the water is filtered into the ground and through vegetation and some of it never reaches the stream so we end up with less sediment. Sediment is what carries some of our nutrients into our water bodies and so if you remove sediment you can remove phosphorus, for example. It’s both water quality and water quantity impacts.”
The techniques also help temper high-velocity flows during heavy rains that damage creek banks, White said.
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