This beautiful weather over the past week has really helped the last of the snow to melt and begin some degree of drying on our properties. But it is April and the spring thunder storms will come…so says my Farmers Almanac. So lets continue to talk about the options to manage the imminent rainwater.
In the years we have worked on managing rainwater in small businesses and homes, we have come to conclusion that there is no single solution. We find combining elements provides the diversity and better outcome. Our 2010 project on the west side of Saratoga Springs proved our point. This small business entry had years of problems with their sidewalk. Not only was it an icing problem in the winter, each season brought it’s share of frost heave thaw to the pavement requiring annual repairs to the surface for safety. By combining permeable pavement surfaces, rainwater harvesting from the building rooftop, underground collection system and perimeter gardens, we were able to correct the problems and provide a welcoming, serene entrance for customers.
Permeable pavements are quite different from run of the mill impervious walkway surfaces, eg cement, standard block pavers, asphalt etc.. Their unique fabrication and the method by which they are constructed allows rainwater to run down in between the seams of the blocks, and slowly percolate down to the ground. I liken it to the way my coffee brews each morning. The water is infused through coffee grounds into my cup or carafe. In this case, the rainwater filters down through levels of crushed stone thus allowing rainwater to return to our natural aquifers. It is wonderful technology that reduces the amount of rainwater than can either pool or move swiftly across the hard surfaces. In our business we exclusively use permeable pavements for sidewalks and patios due to it’s wonderfully sustainable nature.
New trends have also gone beyond the basic rain barrel for capturing water. Did you know, the water feature at the National Museum of Dance has an underground basin that can capture 550 gallons of rainwater to service the water feature? That design diverted a percentage of storm water running down the driveway and into the street and eventually into an overtaxed city storm water system. It is now collected and reused in a water feature. Some rainwater collection systems that reuse water for beautiful water features divert the water directly from the roof downspout. The picture above actually uses this method along with permeable pavements and underground collection basin. This was a real “triple play” of elements that solved a problem and enhanced an outdoor area.
Our next rainwater harvesting project is scheduled as our annual Go Green Community Build at the Franklin Community Center in Saratoga Springs. We will be adding a new twist to a traditional rainwater garden. Want to see how we do this? Stop by the Center at 10 Franklin Street between 9AM and 2PM Saturday May 2nd. Volunteers from Capital Region Kohls Department Stores and Chips Landscaping will be using a combination of design elements to install a garden that may help in managing some of their longstanding rainwater problems and provide a welcoming entrance for the Center.