Concerns of Water Pollution Drive Greener Construction Trends


Sourced from the Albany Times Union

Rather than have stormwater run off the roof of a Prospect Street home into Schenectady's wastewater system, construction manager George Brower designed a rain garden.

Sprinkled with native plants like creeping phlox, perennial grasses and bee and butterfly attracting wildflowers, the rain garden at the house at 99 Prospect St. will soak up rainwater that falls from the home's roof rather than dumping it into the city's aging stormwater and sewer system. The house was largely built by YouthBuild, a program that offers education and job skill training for young adults.

"We're trying to prevent that rainwater from going in to the system, replenish groundwater and protect from community flooding during heavy rainstorms," he said. "That's our main goal, to keep that rainwater on site and disperse it back into the ground."

Communities across the Capital Region are installing various green infrastructure measures to mitigate stormwater runoff, but each person can do their part to help with water pollution, local flooding and combined sewer overflows that plague cities across the country, too.

"It's important that everyone knows what needs to be done and does their part," said Frank Fazio, the University at Albany's stormwater management program coordinator. "Keeping the water clean, treating it and reducing the amount of runoff is very important. It's gotten more important as more and more development occurs."

Best stormwater management practices weren't always used in prior years, but as communities across the country see more frequent heavy rainfall in short spurts, the need to address where stormwater ends up and what's in the water has become dire. Development strips land of its natural elements for stormwater management when impervious surfaces replace native plants and trees that once absorbed the runoff.

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