Friday, May 7, 2010

Stormwater vault pumping, day 2

Little Swamp Creek at noon today

Today the good news was that I went to City Hall to get some contact information and ended up talking in person to a city engineer and the surface water program specialist about what was going on in the stream. They explained the changes that they were requiring when the pumping of the stormwater retention vault upstream resumed today. Unfortunately, the bad news was that when I got home from talking to them I could tell that the pumping had started up because the stream was a bit cloudy. But not as bad as yesterday. That was at about 9:30. But when I came home at noon and looked at the stream, the picture above shows you what I saw. Worse than yesterday. I went up to the vault to see what they were doing, but they were all done. Thank goodness is all that I could say.

Here's what the stream looked like by about 1pm -

And at about 2pm -

Finally, back to normal clarity by 4pm -

(a note on the photos: I really hope to be using a camera with a polarizing lens soon!)

There are a lot of developments with these stormwater retention vaults upstream from us, but this is the first time we've noticed something like this happening. We need to find out if these vault inspections that require the emptying out of the vaults are required at regular intervals or what. The turbidity of the water coming out of the vault may have been fine (as far as the DOE threshold is concerned) when the guys pumping the water tested it today at the hose, but the stream sure wasn't OK down here. (Personally, I think a third party needs to do the testing, anyway.) I hate to think of the lovely concentration of chemicals off of the streets and lawns that ended up coming down here all at once today, especially, as they got down towards the sludgy bottom of the vault today.

Once again I can't believe how much I have learned from living with a stream passing through our yard. I guess everyone lives in a watershed, right? We just happen to experience the good and the bad of our watershed very up-close and personally.

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