Aug 12, 2014

Collaboration Pilots New Storm Water Management Solution

Pilot project on the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District headquarter

Energy Efficiency Green Technology Vegetal i.D. Storm Water Management Milwaukee

Vegetal i.D. announced a collaboration between the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), Fund For Lake Michigan, The Water Council, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Whitewater to closely monitor the performance of a new storm water management solution. The technology being tested is an advanced system combining a blue roof with a green roof that is poised to bring green roof based storm water management performance to a whole new level.

Green and blue roofs are a component of a new form of low-cost high-impact storm water management known as green infrastructure. The goal of green infrastructure programs is to mimic natural systems in order to manage storm water on-site and minimize problems such as polluted runoff and basement backups.

The alternative solution involves the expansion and maintenance of traditional grey infrastructure systems, which can be extremely expensive and often does not completely solve the problem. This is why cities are turning to green infrastructure systems such as green roofs to deal with rainwater at the source, and minimize taxpayer expenses.

In Greater Milwaukee Area of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District has spearheaded the green infrastructure movement for more than 10 years. The goal, known as Fresh Coast 740, is to capture 740 million gal of water every time it rains. To achieve this goal, the program invests in high impact green infrastructure such as rainwater harvesting, porous pavement and bio-swales, and obtains key pieces of land to remediate into greenways and wetlands that manage great amounts of storm water naturally and increases resistance to flooding.

Green roofs are a part of the green infrastructure solution. They absorb and retain water on the roof and use it to grow plants that cool cities, clean water, add biodiversity to urban areas, and improve property values. This is why Vegetal i.D. is launching a new storm water management compliment to green roof systems known as Stock & Flow.

Stock & Flow is a reservoir below the green roof that adds 2 in. of rainwater capacity to a traditional green roof, passively irrigates the plants and controls the way in which water is released from the roof. Imagine decentralized living systems with the reliability of a machine. The system irrigates itself with the water it captures during rainfall while the excess water retained in the reservoir of Stock & Flow is released to the sewer system at a slow and constant rate to make it easier for the city to manage while it is simultaneously preparing it for the next rain event.

This month Vegetal i.D. is launching a pilot project to demonstrate the performance of Stock & Flow. The project will compare storm water management performance of two versions of Stock & Flow, a typical extensive green roof and a standard roof. The company will also measure performance metrics such as the productivity of the plants and their ability to cool the roof.

This study will also assess the costs and benefits associated with these systems. This will enable policy makers and sewer system managers like MMSD to better understand the costs and benefits associated with these systems. The information can be used to better incentivize and regulate storm water management, which helps to drive the use of green infrastructure solutions.