March 20 2014

Bio-Retention Breakthroughs in Kansas City, Missouri

The City of Kansas City, Missouri is planning to move on the Arrowhead Transmission Main project in the future to address storm-water management and related issues in the city. This entails attempting to increase system capacity, improve overall system reliability, provide redundancy to existing thirty-six-inch MCI transmission main, and to accommodate regional Northland community growth.

I-29 and North Oak Trafficway by Vivian Road, Kansas City, Missouri

The city’s Department of Water Services installed a bioretention cell at Interstate 29 and North Oak Trafficway – a major north to south Interstate Highway in the Midwestern United States, which begins in Missouri before exiting the state and entering Iowa. It travels through Kansas City and neighboring St. Joseph metropolitan areas. The department’s current initiatives now include a new two-mile-long, fifty-four-inch wide water transmission main from the Water Treatment Plant at 9 Highway and North Oak Trafficway northward to Vivion Road in Kansas City, Missouri.

Water ways and swales around Kansas City's Country Club Plaza, Missouri

Much like a residential rain garden, the cell is a grassy, downhill area that contains native plants, a grass buffer strip, a sand bed, mulch and planting soil. The cell is designed to efficiently capture and absorb storm-water runoff and pollutants. An underdrain installed beneath the cell contains and treats the storm-water, improving water quality for any creeks or steams that receive water downstream. 18Broadway also has a smaller version of bioretention systems.

Typically, the area would just contain typical turf grass, but now, seeded with native plant seeds including Little Blue Stems, Prairie Blazing Stars, Missouri Black Eyed Susans and Coreopsises, this novel and new approach will serve as a “green solution” to capture some of the storm-water runoff that is created by the adjacent streets and serve as an amenity to the area. The native species require lower maintenance cost and time, and will take a about year to mature. This cell is the first of its kind in the City of Kansas City.

Midtown swales and parkway, Kansas City, Missouri

These designs can significantly slow storm water runoff from the highways, in addition to enhancing the beauty of the region’s transportation systems and infrastructure, while keeping contaminants from entering streams. But like any public expenditure projects, capital funding seems to be limited for these endeavors to be replicated elsewhere.

Might alternative modes of finance be available for future projects? Can communities themselves be involved in partnering with the public sector to plan and execute similar projects in the area in the future?

Credits: Photos by Martin Seliger. Data linked to sources. 

Sunny Sanwar

Sunny Sanwar originates from Dhaka, Bangladesh, and currently resides in Kansas City, Missouri. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kansas and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Sunny is also a Columnist for the Daily Star, the largest English newspaper in Bangladesh, and is currently working in local government at Jackson County, Missouri. This multicultural and interdisciplinary background gives him a holistic understanding of socially sensitive issues in energy and environment around the world. His graduate dissertation thesis in Public Policy dealt with local level emissions reduction strategies. His 2008 "efficiency over performance" project called the KU Ecohawks, aimed for urban transportation to not rely on conventional fossil fuel sources that pollute the local and global environment, but instead run on local wastes. Completely off grid, the mono-crystalline solar cell powered workspace charged the cars, with no energy taken from the main power lines. He also founded the Sustainable Built Environment Initiative in his native Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, which was renamed Bangladesh Green Building Council (BGBC) in 2011, when it became the national representative of Bangladesh, as part of the World Green Building Council in Toronto, Canada. Supported by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fellows, the council provides a centralized national board for green building certifications, courses and outreach, as well as consultancy services to private construction firms, think tanks and government initiatives.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, March 20th, 2014 at 9:55 am and is filed under Architecture, Engineering, Environment, Environmental Design, History/Preservation, Housing, Infrastructure, Land Use, Landscape Architecture, Sunny Sanwar, Urban Development/Real Estate. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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