[Greenbuilding] Stormwater management

Michael O'Brien obrien at hevanet.com
Wed Apr 9 12:04:21 MDT 2014


Hi, Erin--

Thanks, I enjoyed the link--who knew "biochar" had left the Amazon and become an ingredient in stormwater control?

Just thinking out loud, I don't know anything about the ability of biochar to manage pollutants. Is it different from charcoal?

Activated carbon (which has been steam heated to expand its surface area) does do a good job of adsorbing things like oil or metals. I think of those as pollutants found in water on streets and parking lots, emitted from vehicles. On a building site itself, would they be an issue?

Activated carbon might be a challenge to contain in a bag that was still permeable to pollutants.

Best,

Mike

Mike O'Brien Photography
mikeoregon.zenfolio.com




On Apr 9, 2014, at 9:08 AM, Erin Rasmussen <erin at trmiles.com> wrote:

Thanks Mike,
Would a product that's similar to biobags but does a better job of retaining any metals, contaminants or landscaping stuff be useful? I'm looking at whether something that incorporates a charcoal type filter,  similar to these Storm Guard filtration bags.  http://earth-lite.com/?page_id=132
(Price is always a factor, obviously).
kind regards,
Erin Rasmussen
erin at trmiles.com
 
From: Greenbuilding [mailto:greenbuilding-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On Behalf Of Michael O'Brien
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2014 10:14 AM
To: Green Building
Subject: Re: [Greenbuilding] Eco-Utopia and Stormwater management
 
Hi, Erin--
 
As you know, the code only requires managing soil erosion during construction, which is usually done with biobags--chips in netting--or black plastic fencing. 
 
Our site is very well drained so rain water soaked in quickly during construction--our part of Overlook neighborhood seems to be a huge sandbar. We laid down that black permeable garden fabric and a layer of wood chips on top of it to creat a clean work area. After construction we pulled up the fabric and left the chips as mulch.
 
Best,
 
Mike
 
Mike O'Brien Photography
mikeoregon.zenfolio.com
 


 
On Apr 7, 2014, at 9:53 AM, Erin Rasmussen <erin at trmiles.com> wrote:
 
I've read the stormwater regulations. I was just wondering how you put things into practice when you're working on a building or remodeling project.  I know there are some dedicated professionals on the list, and I was wondering if there are any tools or techniques they prefer to control water flow while working on a project.   I'm sure you have experience protecting sensitive watersheds from building impact, or with rain in urban areas or just mitigating against potential muddy run-off problems.
 
An aside:  I have rain-barrels in a small lot in Portland. I tried them out last year, even though the math said that they were impractical, but I found that even a super small scale system helped 'tide the garden over' between infrequent rain events.
 
Erin Rasmussen
erin at trmiles.com
 
From: Greenbuilding [mailto:greenbuilding-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On Behalf Of Michael O'Brien
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2014 8:18 AM
To: Green Building
Subject: Re: [Greenbuilding] Eco-Utopia and Stormwater management
 
Hi, Erin--
 
A very good question, and as Marian points out, one with many potential answers depending on the site, building design, regulations and so on.
 
Here in Portland the city is subdivided into lots, which limits your options--all your stormwater must be managed on 5 or 6,000 square feet--so must be integrated into the building itself and/or in the yard spaces. City regulations now require on-site solutions unless not feasible for reasons beyond your control.
 
In our case, we put an 800 SF ecoroof on the sloped roof over a one-story part of our house. It is readily accessible from a terrace on the second floor, without having to get up on a ladder. After seven years, it's been pretty easy, I am feeding it this spring for the first time. The soil has settled but seems to be staying in place on the slope. The roof is very pretty when all the sedums bloom.
 
The eave gutters drain into two dry wells, so that water helps replenish groundwater.
 
We thought about burying a large cistern to store rainwater, but it would have added substantial cost to the house foundations--there was no yard space on a 5000 SF lot where a tank would not have affected the foundations. Rain barrels would fit, but they don't hold enough water to make much of a difference.
 
Sometimes it is possible to create a bioswale on the surface, depending on area available and soil conditions. There are native plants that like to grow in seasonal marshes which thrive in bioswales.
 
Best,
 
Mike
 
Mike O'Brien Photography
mikeoregon.zenfolio.com
 



 
On Apr 7, 2014, at 6:22 AM, marian dombroski <mdombros at gmail.com> wrote:
 
"Cope" is a difficult word for me when discussing SWM issues.  First step to "coping" is to acknowledge that water is a precious resource delivered to most of us primarily as rain.  We have a responsibility to make that a central part of planning and design. 
 
As far as details go, LID and ESD are pretty good roadmaps to a functional design.  There are an increasing number of projects that go beyond function.  Details of materials and techniques are generally readily accessible on a project by project basis.
 
Please excuse me if this sounds preachy.  SWM regs are pretty dry documents which are difficult to plow through and make sense of. Every site has unique features.  Every design has specific issues to address. Consulting with folks who are known for successful projects and are willing to study the site is an effective and efficient way to achieve what it sounds like you are looking for.
 
Marian
 

On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 1:46 PM, Erin Rasmussen <erin at trmiles.com> wrote:
Good morning Greenbuilding list,
 
I thought I'd annoy you with pretty drawings of eco-utopian buildings  ;)
http://www.fastcodesign.com/3027132/this-eco-village-is-an-environmentalists-dream
 
I have a more serious question though - what's your favorite way of coping with stormwater compliance when you're building/remodeling etc? Favorite practices, products, guidelines?
 
Erin Rasmussen
 
TR Miles Technical Consultants Inc.   http://www.trmiles.com/
and BioEnergy Discussion Lists   http://www.bioenergylists.org/
erin at trmiles.com
 
Erin Rasmussen
 
TR Miles Technical Consultants Inc.   http://www.trmiles.com/
and BioEnergy Discussion Lists   http://www.bioenergylists.org/
erin at trmiles.com
 
 

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-- 
Marian Dombroski, RA, LEED AP
301.775.1191
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