Via Sierra magazine (September-October 2009) comes an article about an innovative way to deal with flooding and “wastewater.”
If you go to the Brown Danos website, you’ll find lots of projects. But the one mentioned in Sierra magazine (“Slow the Flow”) is the design of a drainage system for Episcopal High School of Baton Rouge, which experienced regular flooding of its gym and quad. Brown Danos
reconfigured the land to pitch toward new bio-swales and ponds underlaid with gravel and sand to make them permeable. We also dug columns and filled them with gravel to move water underground. We planted native wetland plants and transformed it into a rain garden. (from Sierra)
The flooding is under control at the high school now. Best of all, fewer toxins get into the water supply. This kind of thing could be done all over the country to reduce water pollution (especially the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico). In fact, when the US government pays farmers to create buffers along streams, it’s doing a less sophisticated version of what Brown Danos does.