All my life, water has played an important role. I remember as a child splashing in the streams at my grandma’s and my Aunt Helen’s house. Grandma’s stream didn’t have much in the way of water, just a little trickle after it rained. But Aunt Helen’s stream (or creek, as we called it) was something else. It had rocks that we could use to cross it, a culvert (large enough to walk upright through) and best of all, crawdads and small fish. My favorite part was “rearranging” the flow of water. I always hated when the water got trapped behind debris, making it all foamy and, to use my childish word, “yucky.” I’d spend hours pulling out branches and weeds, moving rocks and digging out channels for the water to run through. My brother and I were always at odds, him wanting to block the water with dams, me wanting it to flow freely.
I’d do the same thing in the rain water rushing down the street, too, removing leaves that blocked its flow. And by Pete’s home, there was another stream that got more of the same treatment. So I’ve always been fascinated by how water flows. Seeing Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater” house in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands in person was something I will never forget. Had it been within my powers, I would have taken a stack of my favorite books and pulled up a chair on one of the balconies outside a bedroom, never wanting to move for love nor money. The sound of the water was that hypnotic.
As much as I love water, too much of it can be a problem, overwhelming our sewer systems and causing overflows into our rivers. The trees that we have planted are a good start to help cut down on the amount of run-off, as would the swales I’ve talked about previously in this blog. And a researcher at Ohio State, Professor Karen Mancl, is looking into a solution that has been used since the 1800s to help with the problem. If I understand the process correctly, the excess storm water goes into sand bioreactor that has bacterias in it. This bacteria eats all of the bad stuff and cleaner, treated water is what ends up in the rivers. The bacteria can survive for months between storms. Pretty cool! And a pretty simple solution, too.
Until next time!