Kitchener’s ‘Green Infrastructure’ Road Designed to Recharge Groundwater Supply

Sourced from The Record

The road rebuild on Ahrens Street West may look pretty ordinary, but hidden beneath the freshly laid gravel and newly poured sidewalks is some cutting-edge technology

Kitchener is testing some innovative green technology that cleans run-off and helps deal with the more intense storms and flooding that a changing climate will bring.

The city is installing green infrastructure that includes perforated storm sewer pipes and "Silva cells," an underground framework that captures and treats stormwater run-off and holds lightly compacted soil to support the growth of trees in the boulevard.

Essentially, the cells are designed to mimic the way a natural environment would handle rainfall, says Matt Wilson, a water resources engineer with the city.

"It is innovative," Wilson said. "This is the first time we're testing this particular technology."

In about 75 per cent of Kitchener, stormwater run-off isn't treated at all — rainwater flows from roofs, driveways, roads and other hard surfaces, down the road until it goes into the storm drain and, eventually, into the nearest creek, without any treatment. All the grit, oil, salt and other pollutants it picks up along the way simply pours into the creek.

But new policies in Kitchener require much more of the rainfall to be retained close to where it falls, rather than swept away in a storm sewer. The new silva cells do that, and more.

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