In this section, you’ll find descriptions of innovative feature projects that can be found around our city. These projects are the initiatives of either the City, businesses, contractors, builders and/or developers.
Check them out, and you will start to recognize these features in our city.
Water quality ponds and diversion pipes are part of a unique drainage system on Burke Mountain that provides flood protection for residents while protecting valuable creeks and fish habitat. A network of pipes on the mountain diverts large, damaging water flows away from smaller creeks and discharges it to Deboville Slough. To keep some flow in the creeks, flow splitters on the diversion pipes bleed off water and direct it to treatment devices and water quality ponds where pollutants and sediment are captured and settled out first.
Pervious asphalt was used on the back half of this lane which drains to Nelson Creek while traditional pavement was used on the other half. Rainwater soaks through the pavement and makes its way back to the creek slowly through the underground soil. This filters out road pollutants and helps to protect the creek from heavy flows that cause erosion.
This bioswale captures rainwater runoff from the parking lot. The plants filter out pollutants and water can seep into the ground where it can slowly return to nearby creeks. The plants and trees also provide shade to counter the heat reflected by the pavement and cool the surrounding environment through a process called transpiration.
Roadside facilities help protect nearby creeks by slowing down and reducing surface runoff which can cause erosion. The soil and vegetation filters out harmful metals and oils that come from vehicles and sediment from the road. Look for these attractive roadside features all over Coquitlam.
When King Edward Avenue was widened for the King Edward overpass in 2012 it meant moving Nelson Creek in Mackin Park. Rather than negatively impacting the creek, the City used the opportunity to improve its health:
Rain gardens act like reservoirs to capture and store rainwater. This mimics the function of the forest before the land was developed and gives poor draining soils extra time to absorb water. The water makes its way back to creeks to keep them from running dry. Plants sequester carbon and are nice to look at too.
Rainbarrels are used to collect and store rainwater for use in your garden, lawn or hanging baskets. To help residents with this efficient and easy way to conserve water the City offers rain barrels at a discounted price. For more information visit our Water Conservation page.
IKEA has constructed a wetland area which detains and treats excess flows from their site. The parking lot was also constructed so that rainwater runoff is directed towards planted areas for water quality treatment and infiltration. Nelson Creek runs along the east side of the IKEA property and these building approaches help to keep it flowing clean and undamaged from heavy flow. Wetlands also provide a refuge for birds and small amphibians.
TD Friends of the Environment Foundation sponsors a city program called Growing Community Roots which provides funds for planting trees in urban areas. Trees provide multiple benefits like rainwater capture and volume control, detention, water quality treatment, carbon sequestration and shade. Tree Canada works with the city, volunteers and sponsors like TD to provide education, technical expertise and resources to plant trees.
A 600-metre planted median within the Lougheed highway median collects rainwater runoff from the road, slows down the flow and improves water quality. An engineered soil called EcoMedia was used to remove road pollutants like hydrocarbons, nitrates, metals and suspended solids. Trees, shrubs, and perennials add beauty and colour while providing additional stormwater filtration and absorption.
The City has teamed up with Cascade and ISL Engineering to fund a monitoring program which will test how well the median works to improve water quality. The results to date show a 90% reduction in pollutants.
Green walls not only look great but they function as vertical gardens to capture, filter and absorb rainwater. Plants also absorb greenhouse gases and clean pollutants from the air. A green wall can contain over a thousand plants, all of which filter air and in offer up energy-rich oxygen.
Green walls protect building envelopes by shielding them from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, precipitation, wind and corrosive acid rain. Studies have shown that the surface of an exterior green wall is up to 10 degrees Celsius cooler than an exposed wall. Not only do green walls reduce cooling requirements but they also help to mitigate the urban heat island effect. Through the process known as transpiration, plants actually cool their surrounding environment slightly.
Pervious paving is a surface layer that allows rainfall to percolate into the ground where it can make its way back to nearby creeks slowly. Returning the flow to the creeks slowly through the ground rather than all at once through the end of a storm pipe helps to protect creeks from erosion and damage A trickle of water returning to the creeks ensures that they don’t run dry.
Mainroad Contracting and the City have teamed up to test a new type of pavement called EZ Street. This pavement uses a cold mix rather than a hot application process which allows it to use less greenhouse gas emissions. Since the material is produced, placed and stored at ambient temperatures, any unused material can be returned to the stock pile which reduces waste. The material is self-healing which reduces the likelihood of cracks and need for maintenance. The pavement also has pervious properties which allow it to infiltrate rainwater.
Most landscaping - either natural or manmade - acts like a sponge to soak up, store and release rainfall slowly. Builders like Qualico are adding extra topsoil and incorporating trees, shrubs, grasses, planter boxes to their sites which mimics nature by capturing rainfall. Grading hard surfaces like driveways, patios and walkways towards absorbent areas also allows water to be slowed down and infiltrated into the ground.
This Green Street on Watkins Avenue was constructed by WESBILD in place of a traditional paved road to help meet the capture target established for rainwater management. Sanitary, storm, water mains and other utilities are located under the street as they would be for a typical road design. Sidewalks are the only impervious surface on the green street and they are graded towards pervious areas so that rain runoff is captured and infiltrated. The green street lawns and planted beds have additional topsoil to provide water detention and nutrient holding capacity which maximizes stormwater infiltration.
Underground trenches provide storage for stormwater runoff from this Bosa site and allow it to infiltrate into the ground. Oversized pipes with flow control devices slow down any excess water leaving the site to protect nearby creeks from erosion.
Swales and lawn basins like these have been used by developers like Morningstar to treat roadway drainage. The swales infiltrate rainwater and slow down the rest of the water discharging to the storm system and ultimately the nearby creeks. The swales also filter out some of the sediment and pollutants from the road.
The Artist Response Team develops educational programs for schools through the use of songs, videos, handbooks and course curriculum. The City is exploring partnerships with this organization and schools in Coquitlam to develop a curriculum around actions that residents and students can take to build better.
The Partnership for Water Sustainability BC has developed an online tool called the Water Balance Model Express. Homeowners can enter information about their property and then use the tool to size and test landscaping applications like rain gardens, pavement and absorbent soil to see the effect on managing rainwater. The City of Coquitlam is looking forward to being a host site for this tool.