Going Green: Citizen's Square Parking Lot

Published 06/24 2014 01:39PM

Updated 06/24 2014 02:02PM

WFFT's Tara Petitt went to Downtown Fort Wayne to discover creative ways to manage storm water runoff.  She was at Citizens Square where they are using their parking lot to go green.

"Unlike traditional asphalt, the black solid stuff where water just runs off, this actually looks like a big rice krispie treat so those little holes in the parking lot are where water soak through."

When Fort Wayne Utilities moved into Citizens Square a few years back, they redesigned their parking lot to accommodate more parking and prevent storm water from going straight into the combined sewer system.

Anne Marie Smrchek is the Stormwater Program Manager for the City of Fort Wayne and says, "What we came in and did was actually installed a previous concrete parking lot or parking area in the center of the lot and that allows water to soak through the parking lot rather in the ground and getting into our combined sewers."

In the downtown area, there's not much green space as other areas in the city for storm water runoff so sometimes you have to get creative.

"This water is just like rain hitting the parking lot and when rain hits the parking lot, the top of it water soaks through just like its showing here."

Citizens Square's previous pavement is 8 inches deep.  Underneath it lies a stone layer that's about 2 feet deep.  Below that, is natural ground where water constantly runs through, slowly infiltrating back into our groundwater system.

This pavement captures 95% of all water that touches it.  Twice a year, the parking lot is vacuumed for debris.

"We got about 750 pounds of debris out there, that's 750 pounds of debris that's not going into our combined system, neither to our treatment plant or to our rivers directly."

On every project, Smrchek says Fort Wayne City Utilities always looks for way to improve the water quality in Fort Wayne.

"It's an investment in who all of us as a community are and hopefully an inspiration for all of us to be creative in how we manage our storm water."

Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.