Storm-water Runoff Challenge

Storm-water runoff creates multiple public health risks when Chicago’s storm-water management system is not functioning properly. As stated by the City of Chicago, one inch of rain in the city will generate about 4 billion gallons of storm-water that will reach neighborhoods and the pavement. The problems that could occur include beach closings, property damage, flooded sewer system, and basement flooding. The public health problems will drastically increase because of the pollutants the storm-water runoff will carry over to households. The nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants will come from poor infrastructure, fertilizers, and pet and yard waste (EPA).

It would be beneficial and wise to find ways to reduce storm-water runoff by investing in green storm-water infrastructure. Since Chicago has several buildings, the city can create green roofs that would reduce the amount of storm-water that drains into the street. This will help local businesses, residential homes, and pedestrians who have to pass through flooded areas. The green roofs in Chicago will have vegetation, a drainage layer, and a permeable fabric (City of Chicago). The gardens would then be connected to the drainage system that could allow storm-water to flow into community gardens and other areas with vegetation. The rest of the water would then go to the sewage system and this will drastically reduce sewage system flooding.

This plan can cut down economic costs and benefit the environment. The green storm-water roofs can reduce the rate of infrastructure deterioration and can provide employment opportunities to people who work in the construction sector. The environmental benefits include having more green space, gardens, reducing the spread of pollutants, and decreasing the rate water is lost in the region (City of Chicago). This investment will further push Chicago to being a sustainable city. Chicago will be able to reduce climate change, help its citizens, and decrease the amount of public health problems there are. Rainwater will naturally be purified, gardens will provide local businesses with more food choices, and our economy will grow.

City of Chicago:



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