Friday, July 8, 2011


Recognize the acronym?  Here's a clue: From the Government Agency that regulated LUST, we also have NURP.  Still Guessing?   National Urban Runoff Program - the force behind those stormwater retention ponds that are now a part of every land development project.  There is one about 1/4 mile from our house.  I enjoy walking by it at any time of the year.  EPA analysis from 1979 research concluded that wetlands cleanse pollutants from the water running off our streets, fertilized lawns and super-mall parking lots. Since most developments don't have a convenient wetland located down-gradient, constructed wetlands would have to do.  The word went out, and the beneficiaries include red-winged blackbirds, paddling ducks of all kinds, turtles, frogs, blue herons and my favorite, the tiny marsh wren.  And, of course, urban walkers like me who happen by to enjoy the show.  By design, these ponds are landscaped with grasses, shrubs and marshland plants that stabilize the banks and help with pollution scrubbing.  A properly constructed pond has a sufficient water supply to maintain a permanent pool, and a protective berm high enough to retain a 100 year flood.  As dirty water drains into the pond, sediment settles to the bottom with its adsorbed pollutant load.  Rain, runoff and naturally occurring groundwater keep water flowing down the outlet.  Regular maintenance removes built up sediments.

Keep an eye out for a retention pond near you and enjoy this elegant solution to a water quality problem.

PS on LUST.  Leaking Underground Storage Tanks.

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