- John Podesta eats crow: ‘I apologize to Speaker Boehner’
- U.S., China race to finish line on ‘invisibility cloak’
- Obama ‘cavalier’ in hiding foreign aid order, judge rules
- Prince Charles: Muslims are driving Christians from Mideast through persecution
- Gitmo’s first commander: Close the prison down
- Google’s newest photography find: Just wink and shoot
- Detroit’s Heidelberg art project hit by 8 fires in 8 months
- Pa. police pull people over for random DNA tests for feds
- NASA pushing hard to get back into space game
- Harvard student to face federal charges for bomb hoax
Researchers present ideas to save Chesapeake Bay
Question of the Day
ANNAPOLIS, MD. (AP) - Floating wetlands, porous asphalt and living walls are some of the ideas that universities, federal laboratories and private companies are developing to restore the Chesapeake Bay.
Those ideas and others were presented Wednesday in Annapolis at a “Technologies That Can Save the Bay” event sponsored by the Maryland Technology Development Corporation and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Many of the ideas focus on keeping pollutants like nitrogen, phosphorous and sediments out of waterways. Others would remove them once they reach the Chesapeake, where sediments cloud the water and bury grasses, and nitrogen and phosphorous act as nutrients feeding light- and oxygen-robbing algae.
Floating wetlands, for example, are floating mats, rafts or other structures on which plants grow with the roots dangling into the water, removing the nitrogen compounds that come from sewage, fertilizer runoff and other sources. Living walls are made of masonry but have voids in which plants can grow. And porous asphalt allows water to trickle through it into the ground, where pollutants are filtered out and consumed by bacteria, instead of running off into nearby waterways.
Kent Hansen of the National Asphalt Pavement Association said porous asphalt is just like traditional asphalt but doesn’t have sand added to the gravel and thick petroleum byproduct that binds it together. While it is more expensive to install because it is normally laid over a thick gravel bed, it helps eliminate the need for stormwater retention ponds, he said.
“You’re already building this pavement at a site, you may actually eliminate or reduce the size of a detention basin, saving land,” Hansen said, as a video played behind him showing a hose running onto pavement but not off.
Michael Furbish, of The Furbish Company, discussed his firm’s Smartslope system for reinforcing hillsides and other sloping areas that often are subject to erosion. The system uses what he calls “concrete drawers” that are stacked, filled with soil and plants, reinforcing the slope, consuming runoff and nutrients.
Keith Bowers, of Baltimore-based Biohabitats, discussed floating wetlands. Biohabitats has installed four systems, including a small demonstration system at the Living Classrooms Foundation campus in downtown Baltimore. While they have been used effectively on ponds and lakes, in an ecosystem as large as the Chesapeake Bay, they serve primarily as an educational tool, Bowers said.
“What makes ours unique is we are actually harvesting trash, debris, mainly plastic bottles from waterways, urban waterways, and using that as the flotation device,” Bowers said.
The bottles are compacted into a mesh tub and wrapped with coconut husk fiber and plants are plugged into perforations in the mesh. As the plants grow, their roots reach down into the water absorbing nitrogen, he said.
Dr. Bill Hunt, an associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering at North Carolina State University, said they can be effective, opening wider areas than planting only on the bottom near the shoreline.
“The biggest thing is it’s expensive to do the earthwork to get the soil close enough to the surface,” said Hunt, who was not among those presenting ideas on Wednesday. “What’s really nice about these things is they float and it doesn’t matter what the water depth is beneath them.”
Hunt said floating wetlands have been used for wastewater treatment in the western United States and in New Zealand, and their use for removing nitrogen from other waterways is being increasingly investigated. However, not enough data has been collected to justify incentives for developers and others to use them on stormwater containment ponds or other waterways, he said.
Hunt is currently studying floating wetlands on two ponds in Durham, N.C., and says he expected nitrogen removal and water temperature reduction will be the primary benefits.
Chuck Fox, the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s senior bay adviser, spoke at the event, saying regulators can’t “pick the horse to ride,” but can define expectations and let the market respond with appropriate technologies. Fox noted the federal Clean Air Act mandated air pollution reductions and automakers later developed catalytic converters.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Half of America strips religion from Christmas
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Army to cut up to 4,000 captains and majors
- Pa. police pull people over for random DNA tests for feds
- 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson: Gays 'wont inherit the kingdom of God'
- Senators in rush to pass budget vow to undo cut to military retirement pay
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Rush weighs in: Maybe Republicans dont dislike Obamacare
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Lists of top ten movies, songs, funny moments, fashion statements, automobiles, children's names, stupid celebrity moments, first dates, last dates, weddings, and much, much more.
Right-brain investing in a left-brain world. You can do it. I can help.
News and views on the Civil War.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow