STORM WATER MANAGEMENT LABORATORY IN USA
I’m sitting here in Fareways Cafe in Lake of the Woods, Virginia writing down what has happened to me in the past 13 days in the USA. I came here to run some tests in the storm water laboratory at the Moerings company. They produce and sell sedums for green roofs in the USA. My task here is to determine how much water, as in raindrops, could potentially be held in European and American systems; for example, when a storm occurs, how much time does it take for a drop of rain to go through the system and end up in sewage pipes. So we’re evaluating and comparing green roofs vs. normal roofs in terms of storm water management.
In big cities, it’s a big problem when storms come through and a great amount of water is released very quickly. Municipal wastewater treatment plants simply can’t clean up so much water in such a short time, so they just flush all of the water out. The solution is to try to hold as much water on the roofs as possible, then slow up the flushing process of the run-off water that goes through the system. If that works, then we have a great solution for storm water management in big cities.
But green roofs aren’t just a solution for storm water management in big cities – they also provide people in urban areas with something else they need – contact with nature. We’re still a part of that nature – and even just looking at the colour green can help calm us down. And as half of the world’s population today lives in urban areas, away from nature, we need to re-create part of that nature in the cities. If cities look green, people feel it and are in contact with plant life every step of the way. And we can do it – we have all we need to build this system up!
Finally, the USA for me isn’t just about work. I’ve met a great group of people here, co-workers from Moerings. And at the end of every week we have a great time on the lake, enjoying different kinds of water sports. So, thanks guys, it’s great to hang out with you :)