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Town plans for future increase in storm water

December 2, 2021   ·   0 Comments

With climate change affecting the size and type of rain fall that occurs in a particular area, municipalities must maintain storm water run off systems to accommodate an increase in volume of water.

An increase in the amount of rainfall can cause flooding that will, in turn, cause a lot of damage.

The current systems were designed using historic climate data and built to a certain depth to control the amount of water typically falling on an area over the course of the year.

According to the Credit Valley Conservation Authority, water levels cannot be contained in the current sewer system. The overflow means flooding and the transfer of toxic materials to waterways.

The solution is to capture as much of the storm water and soak it into the ground before it goes into the sewer systems and downstream river areas.

This is referred to as a “low impact development” (LID) system and uses fairly simple techniques to allow water back into the ground. An example is a permeable pavement parking lot that allows water to seep between paving stones rather than pooling that would happen on regular asphalt parking lot. 

The Town of New Tecumseth is working to keep up with the change in storm water management with a series of local projects.

“Low impact development is a new approach to storm water management,” explained New Tecumseth Director of Engineering Rick Vatri at the Town’s Environmental Advisory Committee Meeting on November 23. “In May of 2021, we introduced and approved the new Town engineering standards and those allow for the use of LIDs. As part of developing our standards, we took into consideration that currently the Town of New Tecumseth is approximately 90 per cent under the jurisdiction of the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority. We reached out to the NVCA and one of the things they told is that they currently do not have LID standards. They recommended to us that we implement, or reference the Credit Valley Conservation Authority standards.”

The NVCA is currently in the process of putting together LID standards that can be fine-tuned for this area.

Two new subdivisions in the area are already proposing LID standards as part of their design. This would include infiltration trenches that direct water off of the lots.

These ideas are also being used as site plan reviews when it comes to commercial properties.

For those commercial properties that are smaller, the use of permeable paving is seen as an alternative to give rain water a place to go.

“I fully expect that as we develop more sites and we start implementing the LIDs, rain gardens and bio swales, and infiltration galleries will be the norm,” Mr. Vatri said. “We’ll see that both in small site developments, but also more in residential and industrial subdivisions.”

There are plans to take more action in the future and expand this type of program to include upgrading sites that currently experience an excess amount of water pooling in ditches and other areas where run-off can create a problem.

By Brian Lockhart
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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