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Prevention of urban salt loaded rainwater and desalinization methods

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Prevention of urban salt loaded rainwater and desalinization meth

Our solution focus are on reducing the volume of rainwater which hits the salt infested pavement, substitute the used salts and finding feasible solutions for separating salts from loaded rainwater.

Team
Rivers and Roads
Laura Kavanaugh, Dasa Paulikova, Iasmina Roman
Contact details
christoph.resch@brainbows.com

Urban rain water management

Today most rainwater from city streets is fed into the sewer system to protect trees and ground water from road salt and other contaminants. How can more of this water be brought to evaporation and remain in the natural water cycle?

Read more about Urban rain water management

Prevention of urban salt loaded rainwater and desalinization meth

Our solution focus are on reducing the volume of rainwater which hits the salt infested pavement, substitute the used salts and finding feasible solutions for separating salts from loaded rainwater.

Solution context

The rainwater from roads of city of Vienna is frequently loaded with salt in winter for de-icing. During the periods of heavy rains, which would come more and more often due to the climate change, the sewer system is overloaded. The challange here was to come up with the solution that would help to reduce the volume of the rainwater in streets of Vienna. Another challenge was to find alternatives for de-icing the roads, because of salt's negative impacts on the environment. In the case if salt alternatives will not prove to be sufficient, we were trying to have a look at the ways how to separate the loaded and unloaded water. 

Solution description

Our solution focuses on 3 challenges. The first one - the reduction of the volume of street runoff - is to use as much environmentally friendly water management tools as possible. This can be done by integration of retention, evaporation, infiltration, green and blue infrastructure elements in forms of e.g. permeable pavements, semi-permeable parking lots, blue roofs, watersqueres, improvement of the drainage system. The solution for the second challange are the alternatives for the technical salt. These includes more traditional ones such as calcium magnesium acetate, but also the more innovative ones such as beet juice or coffee grounds. In case these salt alternatives will prove to be not sufficient, or too financially demanding, we come up with technical solutions of the salt separation from loaded water. Electrolysis sensors from the wastewater treatment plant can sense and divert loaded water to storage tanks. This water can then be evaporated by (a) heating while underground or (b) by pumping the water to blue roof ponds that double as salt pans. In the latter which takes place in summer, the evaporation also cools the building to reduce urban heat island effect, and the salt is recovered for reuse. This combines obviously short term solutions, and long term solutions with co-benefits that create a greener city.

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