By Lauren Leffel


Don CarpenterLawrence Technological University is leading a multi-state demonstration project focused on green infrastructure design that can reduce, if not eliminate, stormwater runoff from parking lots.

Greening of the Great Lakes host Kirk Heinze speaks with Dr. Don Carpenter, the director of the Great Lakes Stormwater Institute and a professor of civil engineering at LTU.

According to Carpenter, around 90-95% of all rainwater that hits surfaces such as asphalt and concrete runs off into storm drains, pipes, and water bodies with little to no treatment, depositing high concentrations of pollutants into our communities' water supply.

"The gold standard of stormwater management is that if the streams and creeks downstream of the watershed have no idea you developed," says Carpenter. "Green infrastructure seeks to mimic the natural hydrology of a site."

Examples of easily accessible green infrastructure include rain gardens, porous pavement, and green roofs, which can be both useful and beautiful.

"We need to treat stormwater as a resource, not a waste product."

"We need to treat stormwater as a resource, not a waste product," says Carpenter.

Lawrence Tech's national demonstration has begun with the use of permeable replacements to asphalt in campus parking lots. This integrated system promotes infiltration down into the soil as opposed to having mass amounts of runoff into the water systems.

Carpenter says other sites in Ohio, Florida, Washington DC, and California are next on the list to test the project performance across different hydrologies, weather systems, and soil types.

Lawrence Tech has a goal to be 100 percent stormwater neutral, with a walking trail for visitors who wish to come see and learn more about the project.

Click here to hear Carpenter's conversation with Heinze.


By Russ White
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on February 01, 2016 at 8:52 AM, updated February 01, 2016 at 9:02 AM