Phytoremediation basics

Charleston concentrates on stormwater drainage as an anti-flooding system. But that’s not the whole story. Stormwater picks up all sorts of materials, big and small that can hurt the environment and removes it.

One of the ways that’s done is by using trees to either transform pollution (excess fertilizer in stormwater runoff) or to draw it up into the tissue of the trees, concentrating the toxic material into an easily removed form.

Here’s an article covering the basics:

The Basics of Phytoremediation

FOI response

Sometimes you get the most astonishing insights from the simplest requests. “With this dataset, we would be providing all of our stormwater inventory to date (that is the same as any “internal” stormwater data we have), which does not include all stormwater infrastructure in the City of Charleston as we do not have all infrastructure captured in GIS and/or hard mapping. We continue to build our stormwater inventory over time and update the data portal accordingly.”

I am hopeful that on further reflection, the city of Charleston will retreat from its apparent position that it does not actually know what all of the city’s drainage system components are. I really hope that this is a misinterpretation.

Spreading the word

I’m looking for groups of people to present the message of organizing a non-profit to persistently press for action on fixing Charleston’s flooding problems and to gather up funds to actually fix the problem. If you belong to an organization that might be interested in hearing about how we can actually take action fix the problem of Charleston flooding, please drop a note in the comments.

Streamline Technologies adding CSV export to ICPR

With CSV import and export (according to their salesmen at least) of all fields within the ICPR database, it’s going to get a lot easier for people to check their municipality’s math, as Charleston and other cities in the SE tend to use ICPR.

You would think that this would be a simple matter for the development team, but it turns out that it’s been several weeks since I was told this was just around the corner.

The latest news? Check back in a few weeks.

Daily update – September 20, 2017

Update – the research process is now starting. The Charleston metro area drainage systems are the responsibility of the following organizations:
1. The State of South Caroline Department of Transportation (SCDOT) for water coming off state roads.
2. Each municipality is responsible for their own roads.
3. The three counties of Berkeley, Dorchester, and Charleston for the unincorporated parts of their respective counties. They also, by intergovernmental agreement will take requests from municipalities to fix things. Members of the public do have to get their own municipality to make the request. The county won’t do it direct.
4. Private stormwater drainage systems are the responsibility of the private landowners that they sit on. The biggest cases are Kiawah and Seabrook but such things happen all over the metro area in HOA areas and spots where individual property owners have their own retention ponds (very common for commercial and industrial properties).

If you see a poorly maintained stormwater feature, appealing to get it fixed to somebody who doesn’t own it is an exercise in useless frustration. It’s already become obvious that nobody has a full inventory of all stormwater drainage assets, their ownership, their maintenance schedule, their capacity, which direction the water is supposed to go (more complicated than you might think) and what drains into that asset.

We could use it. We won’t stop developers from hurting existing property owners by mistake until we have it.

Welcome to Charleston Dry Feet WIP (Work in Progress)

Charleston has the key to ending our flooding problem. We just don’t know it yet. Locked in databases and paper files stretched across municipal, county, and state jurisdictions, we already know where the water is coming from, where it goes, and how it gets there.

Taking all those pieces of knowledge, figuring out how to automate their extraction, and put it in a database that is free and open to all will allow all of us to figure out what’s going wrong, which ei didn’t get dotted and which tee didn’t get crossed. For most of us, this is tedious work. For a select few, this is fun. For everybody it’s necessary so we keep our homes without water damage, our cars not floating along a temporary river, and, of course, our feet dry.

This is not something that can be done alone, nor can it be done for free. The flooding isn’t free either. Fixing it is cheaper than living with it.

There is a Facebook page to organize and collaborate.
There is a gofundme to raise a test sum to see if this project can be made sustainable. Proceeds go to setting up a non-profit to permanently monitor and make sure that no matter who gets elected, the work continues to be a priority.

Please join the Facebook community.
Please donate to the gofundme.