Thursday, October 20, 2005

Developments that Don't Pollute

About a decade ago, EPA funded an experiment in eastern Connecticut to determine if you could design a subdivision so that less contaminated storm water would run off into local waterways than from a conventional subdivision. Most of the time, storm water is a small but important contributor to the Long Island Sound’s pollution problems, and during extraordinarily wet periods – like last week – it can be a big but important contributor.

Essentially two developments were built side by side in Waterford – one conventional, and one using innovative methods.

The results were announced yesterday, and they are eye-opening. The conventional subdivision resulted in 100 times more runoff than the innovative subdivision, the New London Day reported.

The environmentally friendly half … produced no more runoff than if the land were left as forest.

A UConn associate professor named Jack Claussen designed the experiment:

About 100 times more water is running off the traditional part, carrying with it pollutants from lawn fertilizers, dog waste, petroleum residues from cars and other sources, Clausen said. By contrast, the other section soaks up virtually all the rainwater that lands there, containing any pollutants at the same time. The homes in that section are arranged in a cluster instead of on typical single-family lots, leaving more land as open space.

Read the New London Day for more details.


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