The Good News and the Bad

I’m reminded of an old joke – An excited doctor rushes in to deliver the test results to the nervous man in the examining room. He anxiously asks the patient, “do you want the good news or bad news first?” The hopeful patient requests the good news. The doctor exclaims, “you’re going to have a disease named after you!”

I recently visited with representatives of the City of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and EPA, Region 4 as we toured the Montgomery Environmental Park. Representatives of the City of Montgomery, Alabama led the tour and provided some excellent lessons learned. I’ve provided my five main takeaways from the visit below.

  1. Even a small bioswale can turn concrete -staining runoff from a fast food parking lot into little or no discharge that barely leaves a trace at the overflow.
  2. There is way more litter leaving urban areas than I would ever guess.
  3. Sediment is produced by even the most built-out urban areas… by the ton.
  4. Unwanted species of vegetation can ruin a nice constructed wetland if allowed to take hold.
  5. Maintenance personnel and equipment deserve enough space and access to their work as possible.

The good and the bad news from my visit is that a good portion of pollutants trying to leave the city of Montgomery are being captured by the constructed wetlands.

The pollutants are no longer making their way to impaired Catoma Creek… but Montgomery Public Works now has new work on its plate.

Stormwater planning and design don’t have the market on innovation. Finding better ways to construct and maintain our good works deserve just as much attention.

It was a good day with good people. Thanks to all for making it possible.

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