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🗣️ Stormwater Management: Information, Innovation & Education

Water Voice

Photo by JOHN TOWNER / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Hosts: Greg Johnson & Kevin Kunz
Category: 🗣️ Opinion

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[5:22] KK: “The Senate version of the [infrastructure] bill […] contains […] $25 million to explore three to five Centers of Excellence for Stormwater Control Innovation. […] The three main themes for me are information, innovation, and education. […] There are now needs assessment surveys going up out for stormwater that will not be completed and presented to our federal government until 2024. They may pass this infrastructure package tomorrow, we don't know. But it's going to take years for them to spend that money correctly. That's where I go back to education, get that piece together, get the information collected, […] and then focus on what innovations are out there to do infrastructure correctly the first time. Because if we're spending trillions now on a new economy, we have to keep in mind what that means for the remainder of the 21st century.”

[7:55] KK: “The US Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA, would administer an application process for colleges and universities, research organizations and nonprofit groups to become Centers of Excellence. […] These centers would explore new types of stormwater management infrastructure, methods that improve existing designs, […] as well as strategies for financing and rate setting public research and then professional training.”

[13:34] KK: “Our utility patent wants to connect all forms of freshwater as one asset. And really where the focus is, is Integrated Water Management. Why do we collect raindrops at the gutter at the end of the street, to send it miles away for it to be treated and then pushed out of our communities into waterways? It's simply not a solid practice for something that is so precious as a freshwater asset. We compost and recycle. Why don't we recycle stormwater? And so this new engineer design approach moves to capture stormwater by modernizing the sidewalk, utilizing it as a freshwater asset, which can mean reconnecting it back into the aquifer, and reconnecting the natural water cycle, or utilizing that […] infrastructure that's now underneath our cities that’s not managing high amounts of stormwater […] and using that as real estate for a utility corridor that is meant for the 21st century.”

[14:55] GJ: “[With] the permeable surface technology that we have, […] and […] you get a large rain event, we're able to manage that stormwater right where it falls, get it back into the ground through natural infiltration. But I think the second piece of this […] is, today in most US households, […] our household water is pumped from the aquifer, it gets used, and then it goes down into our gray water infrastructure, it gets processed, and then the clean effluent […] gets discharged to our rivers, or ocean bays, or streams, or wherever, clean bodies of water. And it's not being used to recharge aquifers. And that becomes a big issue, when you see that suddenly, like the American West, […] a mega drought. So what is the AquiPor recharge system do? We basically take, through an engineered design, that cleaned effluent back up through existing infrastructure to the neighborhood and our installed system, and it gets it back into the ground naturally. This is patented. This is ready for the market today. And so this is something I think we wanted to bring up just to give people a little more flavor as to this is more than just a permeable technology. We want to actually solve a multitude of water issues and do it in a […] decentralized distributed fashion, right through these neighborhood corridors.”

[17:02] KK: “And aside from the engineer design itself, the value of a permeable pavement that's sustainable and doesn't clog means that as climate change is hitting our communities harder, […] you are now able to lessen the overall volume and capacity to your pipes […] and then the wastewater treatment plants themselves. […] Stormwater becomes five times more expensive after it passes the gutter. By simply eliminating that, again, aside from the engineer design, we are presenting value to cities coast to coast.”

[23:51] GJ: “I like green infrastructure a lot, because I think what it speaks to me is a distributed approach, a decentralized approach to actually solving some of these water issues. […] I think the more green infrastructure that can be implemented in these denser urban areas, the better. And I think what we need to figure out as a country, and really it should be by community, is how to implement much more of it. The problem right now with green infrastructure is kind of twofold. Number one, it's not extremely scalable. There are certain […] approaches or technologies that seem to be good conceptually, but they just can't be scaled yet. And then the second piece of it is obviously the maintenance component. But what I think is we need to look at maintenance much differently too. We should not be afraid of having to maintain these installations or these green infrastructure applications, because I think they're that necessary.”

[43:45] KK: “I got a book the other day, it's called “The 99% Invisible City”. […] And at the beginning of their infrastructure segment they talk about water. The quote said: “The health and growth of a city is endlessly and limitlessly linked to water. Clean water must be available and dirty water needs to be removed. The importance of this cannot be overstated. But it's easy for it to escape our notice. Water is often a driving force behind the locations of cities, but it also shapes and limits their physical boundaries. As the climate changes, this fluctuating relationship will have a profound effect on the lives of city dwellers […] that will be increasingly impossible to ignore.” […] That's why I'm so excited about this opportunity at this point in history.”

[47:20] GJ: “Portland cement […] is basically the cement that goes into making concrete, and it's been around since the 1800s. And there's been very little innovation around that technology. […] And one thing we know about Portland cement is that it's very pollutive to produce or manufacture. And so […] the industry, each year emits something like 8% of global CO2. And so at AquiPor, when we were developing our permeable technology, we wanted the product to be really good. But it was also important for us to […] have our own proprietary cement that was not Portland based. Because I think some of those pervious concrete and porous asphalt that uses hydrocarbon based cements, for example, those are good concepts. It's […] solving the stormwater problem […], but in your production process, you're causing another problem […]. And that isn't what we want it to develop. […] We had been in R&D and […] over the last several months, really, we've been doing run after run after run to get the perfect mix design that can be scaled far and wide.”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify (Original Title: "The Random Conversation")
🕰️ 1 hr 1 min | 🗓️ 10/18/2021
✅ Time saved: 58 min

Additional Links:
AquiPor Technologies