December 17, 2019

IE13 Bonus: Innovative Water Resources Approaches

Matt Slagel

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So, Matt, tell me a little bit about — you mentioned earlier stormwater management as as part of what you do, obviously on water resources. That's a that's a big thing. Yeah. I've seen just some of the different projects. I've had an opportunity to work on some of the cool and innovative things that we're we do we stormwater management. Right. Can you talk about those? And and because I guess I kind of geek out over the way we can make water, do the things we want it to do. Except as Pat will tell you, flow uphill. Flow uphill. We cannot do that. And then I mean, not not unless we pay a lot of money. We can make it happen. It's an option. We can make anything happen. We could do it. It's just going to be expensive. OK. Alright. So in terms of the things that we might normally do. Yeah. So kind of in a big sense water resources is really about prediction planning for conveyance of collection of and management of runoff. Anytime it rains, you know, breaking down into essentially four four categories, you get quantity management, which is essentially like flood mitigation ponds; quality management, reduction of pollutants and loadings into the bay or any of our water waterways.

You got the drainage conveyance, so
get water from point A to point B safely and then erosion and sendiment control. So the first three are essentially, you know, comparing existing to proposed final where it really gets fun, challenging and can have to get your mind to think a different way and really want it. That's when it comes into understanding construction and how construction processes, erosion and sediment control. So that's essentially collecting trapping water during construction to reduce and remove sediments from getting into the waterways. Obviously, because we don't want brown sediment laden streams and waterways of a too getting a little bit of the chemistry of things, a lot of the phosphorus. So you worry about two major pollutants, nitrogen and phosphorus. Phosphorus really binds to sediment particles. So the more sediment gets into the waterways, the more phosphorus is getting into the waterways. So that's kind of like globally big picture what water resources is. We do some really cool water resource projects from, you know, just the strictly supporting our highway work, supporting our water/wastewater work involved in some really awesome projects with some really potential great potential for innovation when it comes to stormwater. And then we've got a fairly sizable collection of folks now who do and focus on stream restoration. That's really cool. So yeah, we lose a lot of and I'm no expert here.

We lose a lot of sediment
into the Bay, especially in this region annually. Yeah, the Chesapeake Bay. Yeah. It's a big focus area for this region. Yeah. Yeah. And annually we lose a ton of sediment to the Bay just from our stream banks, from erosion. We've gone out and you've seen some of them before. We've done a restoration. You can get some 8, 10 plus foot high banks. Yeah. And any time in the wintertime, especially freeze/thaw, you go out there and just see like an inch of sediment fall off within a matter of a day. And all that's getting into the Bay. So, you know, when our folks are trying to do is stabilize that from a holistic perspective. And often times what that means is, you know, developing some floodplains, wetland creation, essentially big, broad flat floodplains

deliberately.
Going from these real steep banks to really just flatten it out so that when it floods, the water can nicely dissipate out. It drops any sediments there that have come from upstream. Right. Reduces velocities, which reduces the sediment loss in that specific area. Yeah. Some pretty cool stuff that they're doing. And then we've got a lot of work where we're going in and saying the middle of a neighborhood and identifying for our counties where we can put in some small micro water quality facilities to provide treatment on a much, much smaller basis, but no less important. What would micro water quality facility do? Yeah. It's like a rain garden or microbioretention, bioswales, something of that nature. So small amounts of water runs off into it.

There's plants throughout these facilities
which uptake water and nutrients for growth. So essentially through that uptake, we're reducing those nutrients being washed off into our waterways. So I'm a very simplistic perspective. It's sort of like a natural filter for those things. I think one of the coolest ones I've seen were the ones we did at on the Johns Hopkins campus at San Martin Dr. Yes. Those cascading bioswales. It's right around the corner from my house. I go by it often; it looks great. It's installed on the the road is on a bit of a slope. And these there's these series of bioswales — here I am talking about the project is. Go for. Take it away. It's so exciting when I learned what it was. I was like, 'this is cool!' But there's a series of these bioswales installed at, you know, like stepping down. And as the rain comes in and fills up the one at the top, it doesn't just like overflow back into the sidewalk and the street actually flows — cascades — down into the next bioswale and then the same thing. So it's this filter that sort of turns into kind of this waterfall down the hill. Did I get that right? You did. Yes. The material below kind of the surface is highly infiltratable. So you get the water of like you said,. It's not a typical... It's not just a little garden. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Those are really cool. That kind of stuff gets me really excited for for what we do because it's like this is... It looks great; it's very functional; and it's it's innovative. Right. I think we need to we need to cover all the bases, too, if we want to get to that goal of a swimmable Bay by a certain date, you know, you can't just hit one one side of it. You're going to go micro, stream restoration is a big help. It's all over the place. Indeed. Yeah.

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