The City of Durham includes green infrastructure and green stormwater infrastructure practices throughout the City by incorporating them into larger city projects, through research projects and grants, partnerships with local organizations, and by working with other city departments.
What is Green Stormwater Infrastructure?
Green Stormwater infrastructure is a type of stormwater management that tries to protect, restore, or mimic the natural water cycle. Green stormwater infrastructure combines elements of the natural environment and traditional stormwater drainage systems to improve water quality and restore ecosystems. Green stormwater infrastructure can refer to behaviors, practices, devices, as well as being a way to design stormwater systems. Green stormwater infrastructure can be promoted through regulations, including guidelines for landscaping that take advantage of ecological benefits provided by natural processes.
Duke Park Silva Cell Project
The Departments of Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and General Services are working together on a project to study a new type of green stormwater infrastructure device. This winter, two Silva Cell devices will be installed along Acadia Street at Duke Park in the Ellerbe Creek watershed. These modular devices are well-suited for urban areas with limited space for larger, traditional stormwater control measures. In a Silva Cell, stormwater is retained underground while trees and special filter media remove pollutants. North Carolina State University was awarded a grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund to study how well these devices work in Durham's clay soils. In addition to providing the tree with a source of water and nutrients their construction allows tree roots room to grow. The City worked closely with NCSU and the manufacturer (DeepRoot) to design a system that will fit into the park setting. Researchers from NCSU's Stormwater Engineering Group will monitor and study the devices to understand how they can be used elsewhere in the city.
Project update | 3/19/2019: The trees have been installed! Contractors have been waiting for drier and warmer weather to replace a section of sidewalk. Once completed, NCSU researchers will install monitoring equipment.