ClearWorld August Publication: Largo, Florida Goes Green - Page 5

MIT Solves Urban Flooding with New Technology

5

Urban storm flooding is no solution to a happy city life. ClearWorld’s technology advances helps universities like MIT better design solutions to minimize flooding. As hurricane season begins to strike up many storms, it’s important that all cities be safe from damage.

The aftermath of urban storm flooding is long-lasting and can take a lifetime to fully repair. With ClearWorld’s built-above-the-ground LED lighting and solar technology, university students will be inspired to innovate the necessary technologies needed to wash away hurricane damage.

Flooding, on the rise due to climate change, can devastate urban areas and result in drawn-out, costly repairs. Cities are in dire need of new strategies to manage the influx of stormwater. An interdisciplinary team of engineers and urban planners at MIT has now developed a solution: multifunctional urban stormwater wetlands and ponds that seamlessly integrate the control and cleaning of stormwater with ecological and recreational benefits.

Stormwater flooding in cities is exacerbated by urban infrastructure, as many of the natural ecosystems that would absorb rainfall have been replaced with pavement, which greatly limits an area’s infiltration capacity. This keeps stormwater on the surface, where it picks up all kinds of pollutants — trash, heavy metals, industrial chemicals — that are eventually carried into nearby bodies of water, often including the local water supply.

Many cities do not have adequate systems in place to handle stormwater runoff, the largest single cause of stream impairment in urban areas. Stormwater treatment plants are large investments that need to be integrated into existing drainage and water treatment systems. Without spaces or processes that can sequester and purify contaminated water before it reenters circulation or the natural environment, urban centers lose fresh water that could be available for drinking and groundwater recharge, among other ecosystem needs.

Natural stormwater management systems — engineered green spaces — are becoming more popular options for cities, in part due to their affordability. Pictured is an artist’s rendering showing Houston with an adjoining engineered urban green space and wetlands area.

Flooding, on the rise due to climate change, can devastate urban areas and result in drawn-out, costly repairs. Cities are in dire need of new strategies to manage the influx of stormwater. An interdisciplinary team of engineers and urban planners at MIT has now developed a solution: multifunctional urban stormwater wetlands and ponds that seamlessly integrate the control and cleaning of stormwater with ecological and recreational benefits.

Stormwater flooding in cities is exacerbated by urban infrastructure, as many of the natural ecosystems that would absorb rainfall have been replaced with pavement, which greatly limits an area’s infiltration capacity. This keeps stormwater on the surface, where it picks up all kinds of pollutants — trash, heavy metals, industrial chemicals — that are eventually carried into nearby bodies of water, often including the local water supply.

Many cities do not have adequate systems in place to handle stormwater runoff, the largest single cause of stream impairment in urban areas. Stormwater treatment plants are large investments that need to be integrated into existing drainage and water treatment systems. Without spaces or processes that can sequester and purify contaminated water before it reenters circulation or the natural environment, urban centers lose fresh water that could be available for drinking and groundwater recharge, among other ecosystem needs.