On April 20, Gealogica launched Moving Green Infrastructure Forward, MGIF, at Terminal 91 at the Port of Seattle. This is an innovative storm water research/demonstration project that will test the performance of two stormwater management approaches: Splash Boxxes, a cistern/rain garden combination designed for commercial/industrial settings, and a specific soil mix with volcanic sands. Gealogica has been leading this project as a consultant to Sustainable Seatte, with funding from the King Conservation District. Polluted runoff from an abandoned building at the Port will flow into the two boxes and be tested for water quality on the way in and out of each box. We will see monitor pollutant reduction from the Boxxes and compare the water quality and plant survival of two different soil mixes.
Splash Boxxes are installed with gravel, soil, and plants. One box has the traditional bioretention soil mix with riverine sand and compost and the other has volcanic sand and compost. The boxes are ready for water quality monitoring equipment and sensors to test soil moisture in each box. They will be monitored for the spring/winter seasons through 2015.
We have been working on this project for over 1 1/2 years, since Amy brainstormed the idea for a grant application to King Conservation District while working with Sustainable Seattle. Alessandra meanwhile, had been doing independent research, some in conjunction with Dr. Sally Brown, at the University of Washington, that indicated that local, volcanic sands have good potential to both increase plant survival during drought and treat water pollutants. Her interest was piqued by impressive results with volcanic sands in Italy, where volcanic sands from that region did an excellent job in a "green" parking application, leaving the soil draining the site drinking-water-quality after 10 months of parked cars over it. The Splash Boxxes provide an opportunity to test out the volcanic sands in a controlled field experiment and build on the laboratory experiments Alessandra has done.
Bill Bryant, Port Commissioner, Sarah Hemphill, Executive Director of King Conservation District, Terri Butler, Executive Director of Sustainable Seattle, and others were on-hand on April 20 to mark the beginning of this innovative stormwater management research/demonstration project. The Commissioner talked about how this project was part of the Port's efforts to improve Puget Sound and they were happy to be a part of looking for new solutions. Sara Hemphill launched KCD's new brand, "Better Ground," which sums up their mission and she shared that MGIF was a perfect example of looking for better ground - improving the quality of our basic resources like soil and water. We look forward to working with these partners and Splash Box LLC to carry out this project and provide some insights into alternatives for treating our urban storm water.
Here is the link for the KING 5 story that aired on the launch:
Gealogica LLC, Seattle WA 98105