Friday, May 1, 2015

Pier Park - Where will the runoff water go? Will it be a Park, a swamp or a slip and slide?

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .

There are a lot of questions being asked about the Pier Selection Committee's first place ranking of Pier Park so I thought I would throw a few in the hopper.

Pier Park consists of at least two elevated concrete platforms that hold the overwater landscape feature of the design. These are large concrete platforms that slope slightly.

Since these platforms are landscaped, they must have an earthen base to support all of the proposed native plants and grass. There will be hundreds of tons of earth piled on these platforms.

Have they been designed to carry the load especially when the dirt is wet from a soaking rain?

How do they propose to keep the whole mess from simply sliding into the bay, or at least piling up on the lower end?

All of this vegetation is going to require a lot of fertilizer and pesticides to keep it healthy and people friendly, along with a substantial irrigation system.

How many thousands of gallons of water a year will be needed?

Can they use reclaimed or will the runoff pollute the bay?

Where does the runoff water go?  It can't simply go into the bay for a whole host of reasons.

When we have a massive rainfall:
            Does the event field turn into a swamp?
            Is there sufficient drainage to prevent the walking paths from becoming rivers that might be unsafe for visitors caught in a downpour?
            Where does the storm water runoff go?

The idea of a lush over water park is a neat concept, but the reality of supporting that type of infrastructure must be carefully detailed, environmental impacts exposed and all the costs fully explored. 

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