Urban stormwater runoff is a problem. It is the largest non-point source contributor of nutrient pollution to Australia's waterways. Stormwater runs off from our roofs, lawns, pavements, and football pitches. In most cases, a drainage pipe carries this water into concrete waterways.
Stadium owners and managers understand the vital importance of stormwater management. They worry about fast and efficient drainage. But they have to keep their stadium aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly.
Major sports organizations and lawmakers now pressure public spaces to show "green" measures. This is a worldwide movement. In the U.S., stadiums must meet certain energy, water, and environmental goals. Major sports organization like the Super Bowl include standards in their contracts.
FIFA does the same with World Cup stadiums. Even the Olympic Games host cities bids must comply. Focus on good stewardship of natural resources extends to stormwater management.
Many venues now use catchments to collect and reuse roof water runoff. It is devoid of common impurities. Why waste it?
Landscaping, toilet flushing, and groundwater recharging can use runoff. Greywater recycling and runoff retention are part of environmental stewardship. Advance planning for permeable pavement and climate considerate landscaping are also part.
Environmental awareness is often part of any major event bid procedure.
Planning to Save
The 2000 Sydney Olympic Stadium has advanced biofiltration and wastewater handling. Protest blocked plans to knock the whole lot down and start over. Proposals showed a new roofed structure with modern modular biofiltration basins below.
State of the art wastewater control information is available through the National Water Quality Management Strategy and Stormwater Australia. New public space or renovations of existing space should take water use in mind. Retrofitting stadium drainage pipes within existing infrastructure need not be daunting.
Appropriate water sensitive urban design optimises prudent harvesting and utilises stormwater on-site. This includes pollution-control devices. Gross pollutant traps, bioswales, and water quality control catchments are examples.
Drainage Pipe Challenges
Stadiums and other public venues need to balance aesthetics, infrastructure, and environmental factors. The common corrugated plastic drainage pipes are inexpensive. They need a large cross-section and a generous downslope to work properly.
It is often a challenge to arrange adequate drainage in an aesthetic manner. Plastic materials used for rainwater collection become brittle and need replacement in a matter of years. At a large scale, this is a level of constant repair and replacement. Substandard materials are not an easy proposition for large-scale stadiums.
More sophisticated drain systems offer faster flow and draining with narrower pipes, even with little to no downslope. These types of systems offer fewer challenges with blockages and debris. Stormwater drains off the roof quickly, with minimal pipework. The pipes are available in durable stainless steel and other materials.
Siphonic drainage is low profile, self-cleaning and excludes air. 100% of the drain volume is dedicated to water removal, instead of a mix of water, and air. Smaller pipes mean more choices for visually pleasing architecture.
In traditional drainage schemes, the water is quickly dumped into concrete waterways, bypassing treatment. The water is wasted. Pollution carried by the water dumps into waterways and eventually to the ocean.
Rainwater filter technology is now available to redirect and utilise stormwater. Even the 'first flush' of stormwater.
The most advanced filters now remove particles as small as 0.7mm. There is no noticeable slowing of drainage system capacity.
Sediments and nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus can be removed for plant use. This cleaned water can be held in tanks for use in landscaping or other greywater tasks.
Demand for potable water is one of the primary environmental concerns in Australia. Stormwater runoff from cities is about equal to the amount of potable water supplied to those cities.
Despite awareness, little of the stormwater is recaptured. Many factors influence the use and re-use of water. Efforts on-site in a stadium are a significant public relations opportunity
Putting Things Together
Each stadium has unique challenges. An experienced urban designer and engineer would be the best choices to examine a site. Siphonic drainage pipe for rapid roof and sports pitch emptying is practical. In combination with dynamic filtration, the water could replace potable water for toilets.
An expert engineer can examine your site and help you think creatively about stormwater and contaminants. Using every drop on-site will result in considerable savings. It is also ecologically responsible.
Your engineer will consider your drainage needs, including
- Annual rainfall
- Typical duration and intensity of rain
- Number of impervious surfaces
- Shape and slope of land
- Use of the facility
- Existing water management system design
Australia's transition to having Water-Sensitive Cities is already underway. Research and new technology continue to advance in stormwater management.
Part of the transition is to coordinate businesses, public spaces, and government water use and treatment. It means active native-plant use and creative water diversions next to pavements for some spaces. For others, it may be combining on-site water use and off-site shared treatment.
Choosing the right drainage pipe and filtration for large-scale installations is environmentally sound. Concern about rapid water removal for safety is good practice. There are other considerations to balance.
The right system can reduce potable water demand. It can also provide green space and reduce waterway contamination. There are several choices for drainage pipes, including durable stainless steel installations. Siphonic drains in combination with dynamic filtration make stormwater utilisation efficient and cost-effective.
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