Urban parks can help cities manage stormwater, expert says

Jun 12, 2019

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) —A Villanova professor says public parks can and do play a major role in helping cities manage stormwater.

Dr. Robert Traver, who heads Villanova's civil and environmental engineering programs, said  Philadelphia's Water Department is doing well in recognizing the importance of parks in reducing the amount of storm run-off into sewers and eventually the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.

"A lot of what we found on what we call green infrastructure is that we're using soils, plants and the water together and it seems like a natural fit when you're talking about a park," Traver said.

He says cities like Philadelphia are working hard to do it right by incorporating the plants in the green space mix to help absorb the stormwater and reduce the amount going into the sewer system.

"Now it does seem like it's been raining 40 days and 40 nights." Traver said. "I don't think it really has. So we do have periods where they have to sustain drought and, frankly, if they're taking roadway runoff, they have to sustain salty water from all the chlorides and the de-icing chemicals.”

"So, the plants do have to be planned,” he said. “Not every plant is going to be able to handle that environment."

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