Tag stormwater management

Bee’s Ferry Landfill

Rain gardens are an increasingly popular low impact development tool and are a great way to address stormwater quality and quantity. Using plants to capture water and reduce run-off rates may seem an obvious solution, especially to the gardeners and farmers among us, but using them in a development scenario is a new twist on an old problem. Lowcountry civil engineers have long struggled to manage stormwater run off. Traditionally, detention ponds have been used to solve the problem but more and more civil engineers are incorporating plants into their stormwater management plans. Utilizing the unique ability of plants to absorb and filter pollutants, most notably in their capacity to reduce metals, phosphorous and nitrogen quantities in run-off, in the war against stormwater run-off has proved to be a boon to civil engineers.

Bee’s Ferry Landfill Entrance

For the past couple weeks we have been developing a conceptual design for the new entrance to the Bees Ferry Landfill that uses rain gardens to address stormwater. In addition, we hope to include other green development tools such as the use of low maintenance native plants, entrance signs composed primarily of recycled materials and an interpretive trail outlining the benefits of each. It may seem strange to decide to highlight the importance of green development at the entrance to a landfill, but in so doing, it serves as a reminder of the other earth friendly opportunities Charleston County offers in the same location such as recycling and composting services.

Even though most of us remember learning the water cycle in grade school, we often forget that there is a finite amount of water on earth. Water that is here today has always been here, in one form or another. Protecting, preserving, and conserving it in the best way we can and anywhere we have the opportunity is critically important, because it’s all we’ve got.


Innovative Stormwater Solution Helps Maximize Useable Land

IKE BOATWRIGHT, LEED® AP
CIVIL ENGINEERING TEAM LEADER

pervious paver installation

pervious paver installation

Today’s stormwater regulations often create a dilemma for smaller projects. Sites between 0.5 – 2 acres have trouble maximizing buildable area with standard stormwater practices.   Once vehicular and pedestrian access, required parking, buffers, setbacks, grand trees, and retention ponds are taken into account many projects are only left with around 25% of the site for vertical construction.   This can render projects economically unfeasible with current land values.   How can developers meet or exceed their bottom line in these situations?  Here is an example where innovative stormwater infrastructure substantially increased usable area for vertical construction.

Brickyard Business Park is a 0.7 acre commercial project being developed by S.L. Shaw and Associates.   In the initial planning stages we studied the projects stormwater options and found that an infiltration system would increase the usable area for vertical construction from 0.25 acres to 0.35 acres which meant significantly more square footage for build-out.   We were able to meet stormwater requirements without a retention pond by utilizing the permeability of existing soils with a pervious paver system in vehicular areas.

Once the project was bid, we compared the costs for the pervious paver system versus the standard asphalt system and determined that the more innovative pervious paver stormwater management solution was 2.5 times more expensive; however, this only accounted for a $50,000 increase in construction cost.  The client decided to go with the new technology, which  not only enhanced the sustainable design aspect of the project but increased the amount of space available for sale by 40%.


Stuart Whiteside Interviews with SC Business Review

PRESS RELEASE

Stuart Whiteside

Stuart Whiteside

Stuart Whiteside, Vice President of Seamon Whiteside + Associates was chosen to interview with Mike Switzer, host of South Carolina Business Review; a radio program on SC ETV Radio.The interview was broadcast on Thursday, September 4, 2008.

Stuart spoke with Mike about SW+A’s role in the sustainable design movement and how green design practices are carried out in civil engineering and landscape architecture. Seamon Whiteside + Associates is proud to say that we have LEED accredited professionals in both our civil engineering and landscape architecture departments. As the green design movement has found its place in South Carolina development, SW+A has undertaken a program of continuing education and participation in organizations that support sustainable design practices.

In the area of civil engineering, a visible and successful way to incorporate green design into land development is to integrate low impact stormwater management design. Low impact stormwater management such as using vegetated swales to capture and naturally filter stormwater runoff is a responsible and effective way to handle stormwater and reduce possible groundwater pollutants. Creative engineering solutions work to blend the desired environmental safeguards with the goals of the development and do so in a cost conscious manner.

The same is true for the sustainable approach to landscape architectural design. Using native and drought resistant plants, adding trees and shrubs specifically into areas such as parking lots, and street medians to reduce heat islands and therefore the need for extensive irrigation, and incorporating stormwater runoff as natural irrigation are ways that landscape architecture works to reduce environmental impacts and incorporate sustainability into the design.

Stuart also discussed the movement to look at urban planning from a regional standpoint instead of through a hodgepodge of neighborhood, city/town and municipal regulations that often are in opposition to one another. Together with the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Urban Land Institute (ULI), Stuart and other members of the land design community are working with the Charleston area regulatory commissions to align planning guidelines into a regional view. The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments has a program, Our Region, Our Plan that focuses on this method of urban planning. More information about the movement to plan regionally is available these organizations websites.


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