Monday, December 7, 2009

Green roofs to prevent sewerage overflow

From the Huffington Post:

CSO's are the single biggest source of pathogens for many urban bodies of water. The warning bells about sewers and the insufficient infrastructure have been ringing for decades. Though not the best for holiday table talk, it is critical that there is more discussion about new solutions in order to avoid the continuing circular logic of our current ones. Only by seriously looking at new paradigms (or spending billions and billions more on construction than we need to) can this stinky problem be solved.

Too much weight is currently put on the need for more "infrastructure," meaning more pipes, more engineering, more disruption, more trying to control the flow, especially when it combines with rain. (It is as futile a solution as holding back the waters of Lake Ponchartrain during a major hurricane.) These "end of pipe solutions" represent the traditional approach to solving a problem caused by too many people paving over too many acres.

So what can better solve the problem with our sewers? The most obvious -- and most affordable--solution is bringing vegetation back into the cities that paved over green space to get there. Green roofs can dramatically reduce runoff and sewage overflows. Green roofs--roofs covered with living plants, which are, by the way, beautiful -- as opposed to ones made of tar or other impervious materials, absorb water and are a less expensive way to capture water than trying to control it through end-of-pipe ideas. Nature becomes a bigger player, acting as the engineer. Building owners benefit and so do municipalities who have to spend much less on controlling their storm water.

New York City talked a good game about green roofs but decided to spend its millions of dollars of our federal storm water stimulus money on traditional structures -- building more man-made holding tanks -- instead of looking at what is really the cause: lack of vegetation. Isn't that what got New York, Miami, Los Angeles (and countless other major cities) into trouble in the first place?


Photo by Miss Heather

7 comments:

Snake Plissskin said...

F*ck green roofs. The make a poor substitude for parks.

Yes. How about good old fashioned parks?

Just because something stands in the way of development doesn't make it bad.

Green roofs are as stupid as another bright ideas making the rounds around certain circles lately: using cemetaries as parks.

Is their no end to venality?

Queens Crapper said...

Snake, I think we should have both. I caught on to what they were trying to do with the cemeteries when I saw cemeteries and parks listed together in PlaNYC 2030 as "open space".

Anonymous said...

Here's an exciting idea--encourage people not to pave over their gardens. The next time you are in Philadelphia for the annual flower show, pay attention to what that city is doing. They are way ahead of New York.

Anonymous said...

Tell that to the Chinese who "no like tree" and try to kill them off because they dont like to bother with care-taking duties like pruning and sweeping.


Tell that to the Bukharians in Forest Hills who put up fort walls and lay pavers over grass. Because they cant be bothered with landscaping chores.

Tell that to the arrivals from the islands who concrete over front gardens because they have 6 people with 6 cars in one apartment and need a place to park.


Its funny. They all come here looking for the "better life" but do everything they can to turn it into the cesspools they came from.

Anonymous said...

Green roofs are as stupid as another bright ideas making the rounds around certain circles lately: using cemetaries as parks.

-------------------------------------

Lately?

Cemeteries WERE the first parks urban parks.


If anything, dig up all the rotted meat and turn them into legitimate parks.

Your body means nothing once you are dead. Why waste space?

Queens Crapper said...

Yes, they were used as parks. Then we built real parks so we wouldn't have to trample over people's graves while playing frisbee.

Timothy said...

I work under the largest green roof in Manhattan. We save significant $$ by not paying for drainage anymore. Unfortunately, it's not open to the public. Nobody selling their art on my roof!