Elgin going green on infrastructure

 
 
Updated 12/6/2011 4:16 PM

Elgin City Council members will discuss moving forward with two green infrastructure initiatives Wednesday. One would create bioretention basins in the South West Area Neighborhood and the other would redo most of the city hall parking lot with special pavers that absorb water.

Aaron Cosentino, management analyst for the city, said both projects will help manage stormwater runoff.

 

"They'll help filter the stormwater before it enters the Fox River, providing better quality water to residents," Cosentino said.

Both initiatives will pull some pollutants from the water before it gets to the river, providing a benefit for all the nonhuman parts of the ecosystem as well, Cosentino said.

The council already agreed to work with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency on the SWAN project and is set to approve an agreement with Ringwood-based Trotter and Associates for engineering services. From December to June, the company will meet with SWAN residents to identify properties for the landscaped areas with deep-rooted native plants -- the first of which would be installed in the spring and early summer of 2012. The remaining sites will be installed between this summer and fall of 2014.

There will be 24 to 36 bioretention basins, designed to slow and treat stormwater runoff, as well as two special paver alleys at the project's completion. Trotter and Associates will conduct analyses throughout the project to show the effectiveness of the new sites on runoff reduction and water quality. Cosentino said the stormwater management could also reduce flooding.

The entire project will cost $751,900 but Elgin's portion is just $117,900 of the total.

To redo the City Hall lot with the special pavers, Elgin would have to contribute $86,900 to a $347,700 project.

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At this point, the council is just voting on whether to apply for the IEPA funding. If approved, the city would likely find out whether it will receive the money by this summer for a project completion date of August 2014.

According to a memo to council members, the pavers absorb rainwater and snow melt and treat it on-site instead of letting it flow directly into storm sewers.

The memo adds that a converted lot would reduce flooding, soil erosion and an urban heat island effect, while also minimizing icing and thereby reducing the salt needed during the winter.

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