Investing in New Technologies to Manage Stormwater Differently

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 by Credit Valley Conservation

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Managing stormwater in the age of aging infrastructure and increasing severe weather is challenging, but possible as visitors to green infrastructure projects in Mississauga witnessed yesterday. The groups were part of CVC’s Leaders for Clean Water bus tour to four sites incorporating innovative stormwater technologies for managing rainfall and urban runoff.

“Low impact development (LID) practices to manage stormwater are emerging as cost-effective measures that can be incorporated into existing urban settings,” said Christine Zimmer, CVC’s Sr. Manager Watershed Protection and Restoration. “Sites visited included installations in different land use types that are showing impressive results to help protect the Great Lakes and potentially reduce capital and operating costs for municipalities, institutions, businesses and residences.

The severe storm event of July 8th in the GTA caused an estimated $850 million damage in battered infrastructure and flooded basements making it Ontario’s most expensive storm ever according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

At Elm Drive in central Mississauga, tour guests learned that in the eye of the storm, special engineered garden planters and permeable pavers treated up to 60 per cent of the rainfall that fell on site. This helped reduce stress on the municipal storm system while delaying the rush of stormwater by 40 minutes. In the aftermath of hundreds of thousands of dollars in clean-up and repairs, the engineered garden planters and permeable pavers at Elm Drive required no additional maintenance following the event.

In the Lakeview neighbourhood of south Mississauga, tour guests saw engineered flowering boulevard gardens and permeable paver driveways where runoff is filtered and treated before slowly flowing to Lake Ontario. Guests heard that these features don’t just look pretty. There are early indications these could be a cost-effective alternative compared to a full-scale road reconstruction project including large storm sewers under the road.

“We’re pleased with the early results,” said Zimmer, “and with interest from other jurisdictions, including the United States and industry.

“Governments across the country are considering how to tackle huge infrastructure deficits in the face of intensification, increased urbanization and changing climate. These demonstration sites prove that forward-looking organizations that incorporate LID into their existing infrastructure will be ahead of the curve of future regulations or by-laws.”

Guests witnessed the new wave of stormwater treatment typical of commercial parking lots when they visited IMAX corporate offices.  This is the site of one of the first commercial parking lot retrofits in Ontario to incorporate a variety of innovative stormwater technologies.

The new technologies at IMAX will improve drainage and filter runoff before it enters Sheridan Creek and Lake Ontario. These technologies also offer potential for operation and maintenance savings from reduced de-icing salt and from the extended lifespan of permeable pavement which is double that of asphalt.

CVC is a leader in innovative water technologies for stormwater management and watershed protection. It is working with municipalities and the business community to implement demonstration sites and “how to” documentation across the Regions of Peel and Halton and the County of Dufferin. These innovative technologies help reduce flooding and erosion and help improve water quality entering our rivers and Lake Ontario.


Guests gather at one of the special engineered planters at Elm Dr. in Mississauga. 

Guests pass engineered flowering gardens along the boulevard of 3rd St. in Lakeview.

Phil James of Credit Valley Conservation shows how water quickly absorbs through permeable pavers in the parking lot at IMAX headquarters in Sheridan Park.

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Conservation Authorities are a provincial/municipal partnership. CVC was established by an Act of the Province of Ontario in 1954 with a mandate to protect all natural resources, other than minerals, in the area drained by the Credit River. We have been working for almost 60 years with our partner municipalities and stakeholders to protect and enhance the natural environment of the Credit River watershed for present and future generations. CVC is a member of Conservation Ontario.

Maureen Pogue
Manager, Corporate Communications and CAO Office
Credit Valley Conservation
905-670-1615 ext. 242

Christine Zimmer
Sr. Manager, Watershed Protection and Restoration
Credit Valley Conservation
905-670-1615, ext 229

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