"Green Parking"

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM CDT

Posted by Jeff Edmondson

Water runoff from parking lots can contain oils, salts and other pollutants which can cause significant stress on our local trout streams.

In this week's "Your Green Life" Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson checks in with a local school that's reducing their contribution to the problem, by using new porous parking lots.

Over a year and a half ago, the college of Saint Scholastica installed a new parking lot.
While this would normally be hard on the surrounding environment, it only had a small effect because this lot can actually soak up water.

"Rock Aggregate and other mediums, its pretty basic elements and when you put them together it works pretty well as a drainage system," said Tim Orloski.

The coarse surface feels similar to that of a rice crispy bar. When it rains the water is still able to seep down into the nooks and crevices in the permeable surface.

And in case of a heavy rain event this water filter can help prevent that storm runoff from getting into Chester Creek.

These bio–filtration ponds collect whatever excess water is not able to soak through the lot.
The water in these ponds travels through basins and several rocky waterways until it eventually flows back into Chester creek.
And in the winter, snow and ice removal is handled a little differently.

"We plow it like we do every other parking lot. The only difference is we don't sand it. The sand would plug up the pours," said Tim Orloski.

Every spring, the maintenance department will sweep and vacuum the lot to ensure the pores are clear.
In Duluth, for Your Green Life. I'm Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson. The Northlands NewsCenter.

The staff at the college of Saint Scholastica expects the lot to last several more years.