Villanova’s campus is a stormwater lab

    Villanova University is a research site for testing diversionary tactics such as green roofs, pervious concrete, and rain gardens.

    The rains of this past week put a lot of stress onto the region’s outdated stormwater system. The city of Philadelphia has a billion dollar proposal on the table to ease the burden on sewers using green solutions. Health and science reporter Kerry Grens paid a visit to a campus that’s also a stormwater laboratory.

    Traver: What we have and what we’re about to step on here is a porous asphalt walkway. It’s very nice, it’s dry where everything else is wet today.

    In front of a recently retrofitted dormitory he installed rain gardens.

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    Traver: So the idea here is the stormwater comes in, it gets filtered for pollutants, evaporates and some is going to at a very low level through the under drains and back into the storm sewers.

    Green roofs, porous asphalt, pervious concrete and rain gardens can capture most of the runoff from storms we’ve had this week.

    Traver: One of the problems with this technology is, we know it works. It works really well. But trying to design it for a site and be more cost effective and not to over design or under design we still need to learn a lot more from the science stand point.

    The city of Philadelphia is proposing to use much of the same technology to manage its own stormwater.

    Philadelphia’s stormwater problems stem from the old design that combines rainwater and sewage into the same pipes. When the system gets overwhelmed, raw sewage overflows into the rivers.

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