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A Week After Floods, Experts Gather for Water Summit

Oct 07, 2016

By: Eric D. Lawrence , Detroit Free Press

{Motorists struggle through a flooded I-75 at Grand River on Aug. 16, 2016 in downtown Detroit. The 2016 Regional Stormwater Summit Friday at Lawrence Tech in Southfield will feature a variety of stakeholders trading ideas about stormwater management.(Photo: Steve Pepple /Detroit Free Press)}

As the impact of last week's torrential rains and flooding begins to fade for some, although certainly not all residents, in metro Detroit, others will be gathering in Southfield Friday to discuss issues and trade ideas surrounding stormwater management.

Up to 280 government, industry, and community stakeholders will attend the 2016 Regional Stormwater Summit at Lawrence Technological University. There, participants interested in learning and sharing the latest technologies and new rules will discuss collaborative efforts around stormwater issues. The event, which requires participants to register and pay a $20 fee, runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features a variety of stormwater-related topics dealing with green infrastructure, development and sewer overflows.

It will feature presentations by keynote speaker Bethany Bezak, green infrastructure manager for DC Water in Washington, D.C. She's involved in addressing the $2.6 billion consent decree to reduce combined sewer overflows to the district's waterbodies," according to information posted online about the summit.

In addition, state climatologist Jeffrey Andresen will speak on historical and projected climatic trends for southeast Michigan.

Donald Carpenter, director of Lawrence Tech's Great Lakes Stormwater Management Institute, said that green infrastructure, basically using more natural methods for dealing with stormwater, will be needed to address the growing issues with heavier and more frequent rains.

"We're just seeing more rainfall," Carpenter said, noting that the cost to build enough "gray" infrastructure to truly deal with sewer overflows, which foul the region's waterways, and flooding would be astronomical.

Instead, Carpenter, who is also a civil engineering professor, said using porous pavement to get stormwater into the ground, retrofitting current infrastructure to better hold or channel excess water or using currently vacant land to collect stormwater are some options.

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Contact Eric D. Lawrence: [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence.

For information or to register for the 2016 Regional Stormwater Summit, go to http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ed5gft409e091ccb&llr=5jb6bgfab

 

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