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Storm Sponge

It would probably sound better in German.
  (+5, -2)
(+5, -2)
  [vote for,

Assuming that your network of storm drains is above the water table, replace the pipes with spine-and-rib structures where the gaps are filled with a permeable substance. This will soak up as much as possible of the precious freshwater run-off in the hope of giving it back to the water table, instead of dumping it into the sea.

In dreams, add a prohibitively expensive network of capillary drainlets.

May also mitigate flooding.

pertinax, Jun 16 2008


       //better in German//
It sure is:
Amos Kito, Jun 16 2008

       Are existing storm drains large enough to store (as opposed to channel) the floodwater?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 16 2008

       // Schlürfenkrieg //   

       "krieg" is sausage-eater for "war" or "conflict", is it not ?   

       Surely "Sturm" is the appropriate word ?
8th of 7, Jun 16 2008

       I was thinking about the US Midwest which is getting flooded right now. How about a system of hydraulic-moveable foldable spillways that raise up and open wide when an undesired storm hits?   

       One end could be raised up as high as required to make the other end drain out in California.
normzone, Jun 17 2008

       //"Sturm" is the appropriate word//
[8th of 7], that's true. But it just didn't seem schnappy enough.
Amos Kito, Jun 17 2008

       //Are existing storm drains large enough [...]//   

       Well, I was envisaging a hollow centre with the same diameter as the existing drain, so that once the walls and floor were waterlogged the marginal rate of flow of additional storm water would be much the same as before.
pertinax, Jun 17 2008

       This is baked, and doesn't work too well either. The rainwater catch basins in the neighborhood I grew up in were piped into giant (maybe 8 foot tall) cast-concrete cylinders buried under the street (I only know this because I saw them dug up and replaced one year). The walls of the cylinders were slotted, and presumably mesh or gravel backfilling was used to keep soil from spilling into them.   

       They worked fine until you had three days of straight rain, at which point the soil saturated and the street flooded.   

       And considering that the "precious freshwater run-off" contained used motor oil, lawn pesticide runoff, and dog poo, I would much rather dump it in the ocean than into my local drinking water aquifier.
ServoMan314, Jun 19 2008

       Servoman, point, but I'm sure you've seen ducks swimming on a reservoir. And possibly dogs swimming in it.
david_scothern, Jun 19 2008

       //piped into giant (maybe 8 foot tall) cast-concrete cylinders//   

       That wasn't quite what I meant; I envisaged that the drains would still lead to their traditional outfall points (wherever those might be), but that the permeable pipes would soak up as much of the water as possible as it passed; any surplus that they couldn't soak up would still go to the same destination as in a normal storm drain.
pertinax, Jun 22 2008

       Sturmschwamm, Flutkrieg, and Überschwemmungabschwächung might also be appropriate, but what do I know? I'm just ein dummer Kanadier.
Canuck, Jun 22 2008

       I'm rather regretting that sub-title (I was thinking, perhaps, of 'sturm und drying') as a distraction. Would anyone be willing to say anything about the technical aspects? [marked-for-engineering]
pertinax, Jul 13 2008

       [aside] I'm ecstatic to see the [marked- for-engineering] tag being used. It makes me feel like I've made some small contribution to the bakery [\aside]   

       I would say that you would get more effective replenishment of groundwater if you dug a channel along the bottom of the storm drain a few feet deep and fill that with a spongy substance. That way, after the sponge is filled to capacity, water flows in the storm drain as normal, gravity aids the filling of the sponge, and you're not too likely to get a sponge more than a quarter the way up the walls to be very wet anyway. It'd be easier just to go down where the water naturally wants to go anyway.   

       Now, on to the problems I see. Soil that is already nearly saturated from the rain which fills the sponges will likely not be too receptive to extra stored water. I see the water sitting in the sponges for a long time, probably becoming stagnant and a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
bleh, Jul 23 2008

       Do you suppose that living sea-sponge might (a) be adapted to fresh water and (b) eat mosquito larvae?
pertinax, Aug 05 2008

       and c) wear square pants...
wagster, Aug 05 2008


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