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The Common Water Drainage and Flooding Issues Cities Face

geotechnical engineering firmsDesigning a rainwater drainage and flood control system can be a challenge regardless of location, but there are certain issues that tend to arise when coming up with a structural design for such a system in urban environments, specifically. Large cities have different geographic demands and other concerns than rural locations do. That’s why it’s so critical to have assistance from geotechnical engineering firms when creating an effective drainage system.

For one thing, any civil engineering company will know that cities tend to be covered in impervious surfaces — meaning that the streets, walkways, and buildings don’t allow for water absorption. Adding to this problem is the fact that many cities don’t have a lot of green space or trees that will soak in precipitation. The combination of these two factors means that urban areas will typically have significant issues with water run-off.

That water run-off has to go somewhere, and it usually ends up in one of two places: in nearby bodies of water or in the sewer system. If a city has a combined sewer system and a lot of run-off, they’ll likely need to invest in expert advice and subsequent drainage system overhaul from geotechnical engineering firms. That’s because when runoff mixes with sanitary flow in these sewers, that mixture can eventually overflow and flood the streets.

This happens more often than you might think. The U.S.’s aging sewer systems spill approximately 1.26 trillion gallons of untreated sewage every year! At best, it’s a gross nuisance for residents; at worst, it makes for extremely unsanitary conditions and can cause real health hazards.

What can be done to prevent these drainage issues?

First of all, investing in civil engineer services will be a key step to avoiding these problems. In older cities, original drainage systems are still being used, but they’re unable to keep up with the growing population in these areas. As cities and populations continue to build and expand, drainage and flood control systems need to be amended. Geotechnical engineering firms specialize in creating these systems, and it’s to the city’s benefit to fix the problem before it gets worse.

In addition to fixing the system itself, there are other ways to combat common drainage problems. “Green” infrastructure is an excellent way to ensure rainwater gets utilized in a better way. Adding more vegetation and using pervious materials in designs will decrease the amount of rainwater that ends up in the sewer system in the first place. Cities can also use rooftop systems like gardens to retain stormwater. Not only will it keep water out of the sewer system, but it can also improve urban air quality, save energy, reduce negative climate effects, and even increase property values.

Other cities have implemented rainwater recycling systems to keep that water out of the sewers and actually put it to good use. Runoff will be collected and then repurposed in gardens, cooling towers, laundry system, portable toilets, or to wash buildings and streets.

When cities combine these efforts and work with reputable geotechnical engineering firms, they’re able to keep their streets cleaner and their sewers working much more effectively. If your city is in need of a reputable civil engineering company in Florida, Panama, or Honduras, we’re here to help. To get started, contact ACI Corporation today.