Oct 30, 2009

EPA helps solve Global Warming; studies control of traffic-based water pollutants

Ever wondered how to solve the problem of traffic and pollution? Or how to align traffic and nature? EPA may have the answer for you. The Agency's role in abating global warming is finally gaining momentum. The Environmental Protection Agency of the U.S is experimenting with green parking lots to investigate how traffic pollutants (leaking oil, grease, chemicals, sediments and so on) affect underground water sources.

By using different permeable materials and construction designs for their parking lot in one of their facilities, the EPA will study:
  • how to reduce the runoff of car pollutants from paved surfaces into underground water streams, and
  • how to improve the filtering of polluted water that flows back into the ground.
According to ScienceDaily, we control most sources of pollution that infect drainage systems but it’s more difficult to control the large flow of pollution through ‘hard surfaces’, especially in crowded cities.

What’s the purpose?

The study will lead to strategies that make parking lots environmentally friendly and thus control a major water pollutant in urban areas. This will help underline the idea that simple measures can drastically reduce carbon emission.

How are they doing it?

A 43,000-square-foot area will be renovated to create three sections with different kinds of pavement materials and rain gardens (image above). After a decade, the effectiveness of each lot in terms of filtering pollutants from ‘stormwater’ (slow-flowing rainwater) will be evaluated.

Why is Stormwater Dangerous?

When it rains, not all water readily flows back into the city’s drainage systems. Sometimes, water settles on rooftops, pipes and potholes will accumulate harmful pollutants as the runoff flows across different surfaces.

Why is EPA doing this?

EPA is conducting the research through its National Risk Management Research Laboratory to help manage stormwater pollution on a national level.

It’s a half-hearted effort

So it seems like a half-hearted effort but it’s something! It may help prevent global warming and will lead contribute to green living. But the EPA has a lot more power than this, such as lobbying for a global climate change treaty, and that power should be leveraged properly instead of simply using it to look at groundwater pollution. And what about the millions of tons of carbon emitted by the US industry?

On the plus side, this endeavor will bring to attention the issue of global warming to the masses. And that’s needed more now because belief in global warming is falling in the USA.

Source: Science Daily, EPA, Cuyahoga Soil and Water
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