December 30, 2017
In last week’s Garden Clippings, I pled ignorance and admitted that I did not know the name of the creek that runs just west of DeGroot’s. After reading the article, a fellow about a decade older than me told me it was called the Telfer diversion channel. And it was dug in its present form when the highway 402 was built, replacing Highway 7 which is now called London Line.
The Telfer diversion channel, one of many creeks in Lambton County, originates near Churchill Rd, runs adjacent to the former City landfill site, then continues north between Bluewater Country and Sunset Golf. It runs under Highway 402, then connects with Cow Creek and finally dumps into Lake Huron.
Municipal waterways such as ditches, creeks and channels are vital to the City because they conveniently deal with excess water that runs off our rooftops, parking lots, roadways and agricultural field tiles. Without drains, our cities would be a mess after each serious rain. We would also have a lot of flooded basements.
But as cities expand with larger parking lots, more roads and massive box stores, our infrastructure begins to tax our waterways often with negative results. Salt from roadways finds its way into the creek and into our precious Lake Huron. Fertilizers might enter into field tiles and eventually into the Lake. Everything from oil, gas, cigarette butts, grass clippings, topsoil and plastic water bottles easily finds its way into the Lake.
Engineers and city planners are realizing the challenges surrounding water runoff and are taking steps to mitigate the damage. No longer are homeowners allowed to tie their eaves troughs into municipal drains. Storm water retention ponds are now commonplace in new development areas.
Try to get a building permit for a car wash or laundromat, and you will need to go through several hoops and hurdles in order to deal with wastewater. Fuel tanks for gas stations need to be double lined for fear of spillage.
New parking lots are now often required to install oil and grit separators at the bottom of main catch basins, designed to collect and hold heavy sediment while allowing lighter materials to move out with the water.
Increasingly developers are required to find their own way of dealing with water run off rather than relying on municipal open water drainage systems. Those who cannot find a solution to their excess water woes are sometimes levied an additional tax, thus shifting the burden to the municipality.
One of the latest and smartest solutions to massive parking lots is the use of permeable pavers instead of asphalt or concrete. Permeable pavers are similar to brick paving stones but with spaces between each brick, allowing water to penetrate downward rather than running off into catch basins.
Permeable pavers are already being used in larger cities and airports where there is not enough green space to develop alternatives to open waterways. We might just eventually see the day where we will be required to install permeable pavers on our driveways instead of concrete pads that simply allow water to run into the drain systems.