Southfield’s Lawrence Technological University will be the first demonstration test site in the country for a parking lot drainage system that’s designed to significantly reduce stormwater runoff, a major source of water pollution.
“Stormwater runoff is one of the most pressing issues of development for municipalities and corporations,” says Greg McPartlin, CEO of Detroit-based Parjana Distribution LLC, the designer of the system. “We expect this project will be an ultimate guideline to design and implement integrated green infrastructure for the future.”
McPartlin says the system will use a new technology called energy-passive groundwater recharge products, which work by balancing soil moisture and facilitating the movement of water between horizontal soil layers.
He says the system will replace the existing drainage system in the parking lot, and will require a six-foot excavation that is 20 feet by 25 feet. A standard size manhole will be installed and then covered with permeable pavement. The system is designed to handle up to an inch of rain during a 24-hour period.
“The first inch of rain represents the stormwater runoff volume with the highest pollutant loads, so capturing and infiltrating that volume will improve the water quality downstream,” says Donald Carpenter, the project director and a civil engineering professor at Lawrence Tech.
Similar systems will be constructed at universities in Ohio, California, Florida, and Washington, D.C. Each location will have monitoring equipment to gather performance data and the results will be published with design guidelines, with the goal of developing a system that can be used across the country.
Lawrence Tech’s drainage system will be installed this month, while the other four test sites are scheduled to be completed by next September.
Lawrence Tech, founded in 1932, offers degrees in business, engineering, computer science, and physics, among other programs. The university’s College of Architecture and Design recently opened a $7 million design and technology center in Detroit’s Midtown district.