Friday, September 13, 2013

Green Roofs, Many Times the Last Defense for Water Quality!

Green and living roofs are so very important to our water quality, sometimes being the last line of defense for removing pollutants before runoff enters our ecologically sensitive and important waterways.

Green roofs slow down stormwater, cleaning and sequestering pollutants 
Even small green roofs can provide a significant benefit to reducing peak runoff amounts and reducing loadings on creeks, rivers and ponds by removing nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous.
Blue Hole, Ichetucknee Springs
Once stormwater hits a roof and flows to the street below it may only be a matter of minutes before the water and any contaminants picked up as the volume flows across streets, drives and roads enters Florida's drinking water supply. Green roofs also moderate and attenuate the volume of stormwater leaving a building footprint.

Floating wetlands, Gainesville, Florida - greenroof on a pond
Storm drain allows pollutants to enter waterways
Florida has a unique geology across many parts of the state called Karst.  Karst formations are typified by limerock with caves, tunnels and holes throughout the  formation.  Once stormwater runoff enters the limerock above drinking aquifers the flow to the pools of underground water can be very quick.

Many times storm drains are a direct connect to water supply aquifers
Green roofs, living walls, floating wetlands and other best management practices can help keep water clean by slowing the runoff and removing contaminants from the water.

Wekiwa Springs, Florida - higher in nitrogen and algae
Wekiwa Springs, located just north of Orlando, Florida and shown above is surrounded by houses, streets, roads and commercial development.  Though many good best management practices are in place to contain nutrients and runoff, the springs still suffer from high nutrient contents such as nitrogen and phosphorous.
Salt Springs, Ocala National Forest, not as impacted by development
Salt Springs in the Ocala National Forest on the other hand, though threatened by development, does not have all the septic tanks, stormwater runoff and as you can see, the water is much clearer, contains less nitrogen and other nutrients and is so much more healthy.

Installing a green roof on your commercial or residential building is just one small contribution you can make in the Urban Core to help protect clean water supplies and ensure a healthy Florida for future generations.

5 comments:

Roofing Companies Seattle said...

Nice photos! I always admire green roofing. They may not be modernized but still they are considered one of the most durable roofing and earth-friendly as well.

Clarissa Brooks said...

This seems to be growing more popular or I am just beginning to hear about it more. Some cultures did this long ago and still do because they did not have the resources to water purification like we do. I find it interesting that we are bringing it back to our way of life. Places like Hawaii, with the designs of roofing they have, I think could easily transition into methods of drinking water like this.

Cassondra Harter said...

Green roofing is, indeed, one of this century's greatest innovations. It certainly helps with reducing runoff of minerals to our creeks as the plants absorb the nitrogen that comes with the rainwater. If unstopped, this nitrogen can go directly into our creeks and cause algal bloom on lakes and upset the biological balance of these lakes.

Cassondra Harter

Claire Mendoza said...

I completely agree with you, Kevin. I can only imagine the amount of pollutants that rainwater can carry if they fall into one of our heavily-congested cities like NYC or Chicago. We really must consider putting green roofs along commercial buildings to help with this.
Claire Mendoza

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