[ASC-media] Not washing your cars away - CERES media release 23 July 2008

Aerious Consultancy (Tiki) aerious at lostrealm.com
Sat Jul 26 04:06:43 CEST 2008

Not washing your cars away
CERES Community Environment Park Media Release 23rd July 2008

With more and more cars, we always need more spots to park. But hard
surfaces such as carparks and roads mean big bursts of stormwater when it
rains. These bursts stress our water infrastructure, flood low spots,
damage creeks and sweep huge amounts of pollution from our streets into
the ocean. But what if the carpark could work for you rather than against

Imagine a carpark that catches the water from a storm, filters and cleans
it, lets some go back into groundwater and sends the rest into your water
tank ready for restrictions-free gardening. The Pervious Paving Carpark at
CERES is doing just that.

Two different types of possible car park surfaces have been tested for
fifteen months and the results are in. You can grow grass under your cars
or do it with concrete, but the analysis by RMIT researchers shows
pervious paving works: recharging groundwater, slowing and reducing the
flow by more than half, removing more than 90 percent of some nutrients
and reducing heavy metals to below detectable levels.

"Pervious paving is a really effective way to manage urban stormwater
runoff and recharge groundwater", says Dr Nira Jayasuriya of the School of
Civil, Environmental and Chemical Engineering at RMIT.

"They filter the water as well as hold it and slow it. Both types of
paving reduced the oil and suspended solids by 90% or more, and the total
runoff dropped by up to 60% compared to a normal carpark. In fact, the
runoff dropped so much that out of 43 storms we only had seven storms
heavy enough to measure results from. So as storms get more severe with
climate change and we get bigger downpours, these kinds of paving are
going to make a big difference to whether your car gets caught in
flooding, or whether you have to wade to it if you parked at the low end
of the shopping centre."

And the water works for CERES staff, visitors, and local community.

"In the last year we've caught approximately 164 kilolitres of stormwater
from our tiny carpark", says Tiki Swain, Green Technology Coordinator at
CERES. "Some of that water we're trialling using in our community gardens,
so people can grow their own vegies without being limited by the tough
mains water restrictions."

CERES visitors benefit from the extra stormwater caught. "There's families
picnicking by the catchment dam, admiring the flowers growing in the pond,
it's a beautiful nature space that's not costing mains water to maintain,"
says Tiki. "We had around thirteen thousand school students joining in
water studies at CERES last year, doing things like testing the water
health and looking at the insects that live in water bodies. They love the
activities in the dam."

CERES hopes to extend the off-mains irrigation system right through the
community gardens, with the potential to save several hundred kilolitres
of mains water should sufficient rain fall. "We'd hoped to catch a lot
more water, but the drought meant not nearly as much rain as we'd have
liked. So saving mains water with pervious paving is still going to depend
on whether it rains."

The Pervious Paving carpark project was funded by a Stormwater and Urban
Water Conservation Fund grant from the State of Victoria. Research, data
collection and analysis was carried out by the School of Civil,
Environmental and Chemical Engineering from RMIT. The carpark was built
and is maintained by CERES staff and volunteers. It can be seen next to
the EcoHouse, just inside the Lee St entrance to CERES. Entry to CERES is
free, and we are open every day during daylight hours.

For more information contact:
Tiki Swain, CERES Green Technology Coordinator, 0429 865 724,
tiki at ceres.org.au
Sandra Castro, CERES Marketing Co-ordinator sandra at ceres.org.au

Tiki Swain
Green Technology Coordinator
CERES Community Environment Park
0429 865 724, tiki at ceres.org.au

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