Sep 13, 201202:08 PMHome & Garden
Bob Carey, D.B. Frank and All Things Home
Bigger Than Bugs
I can't exactly place the turning point, but bugs no longer pose the biggest threat to our landscape. No, Stink Bugs come and go; Japanese beetles do their thing and even mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus can't cause the amount of damage that more frequent downpours are wreaking in our area.
Water has always posed a physical hazard to humans.
The biblical flood, the Johnstown Flood and ocean tsunamis eradicated life by sheer force. The number of people we know who are affected by these events is generally few and in these times, we really don't concern ourselves too much with rain.
There's been, however, an uncomfortable increase in the frequency of perception that can flood our basements and ruin homes or whole communities in our region. The damage in Bloomsburg, PA is still obvious to anyone driving through that community.
More and more, each big rain event has the potential to contribute to headline grabbing floods, but also to damage our own backyard.
There was a time it used to be like Vegas in our region; what rained here stayed here. However, that was a long time ago.
The loss of forested cover and the increase in the amount of impervious surface causes more and more of the water that falls to be directed as quickly as possible to swales, tributaries and ultimately, streams and rivers where much of the major flooding occurs.
And we all kinda know this, but let's look at the prodigious ability of the soil to absorb water and conversely how much water we move off the roads, houses and parking lots, especially in a downpour.
Every time it rain an inch (not uncommon these days; sometimes in the course of an hour or so!), each acre of land recieves 27,150 gallons of water. That's about 13 tons of wet stuff.
It's almost hard to believe but before it reaches the ground, all the water is in the atmosphere as a gas. No wonder it feels so close when the humidity is high.
But's let's continue.
Suppose Mechanicsburg gets an inch of rain. The borough is 2.6 square miles which is equivalent to 1664 acres of land. Doing the math it means that - ready for this? - each time it rains an inch 45,177,600 gallons of water falls and needs to be removed from the roof, streets and parking lots in my little town. If you had a dollar for every pound that represented, you'd deposit over 361 million "George Washingtons" into your account.
If rain water is not retained where it falls, it's no wonder that CBS 21 TV meteorologist, Tom Russell, says we should expect near catastrophic events.
Stormwater is not only an issue for life and property, but has a lasting impact on the general quality of the water from streams that our communities depend on for industry and domestic use.
The effects to manage stormwater runoff will soon be evident in your community and maybe even your business as NPDES and MS$s become familiar terms.
Next time we'll talk a little bit about those terms but more importantly, what you can do to mitigate the problem for your property while helping the community at the same time.