22 August 2014

Elmwood Park Project Wins Green Leaf Award

The Elmwood Park diversion project has been given the 2014 Green Leaf Award by the Omaha by Design group. They have a writeup with pictures at their website.

Some additional comments on the value of this project have been provided by Jim Theiler, the CSO Program Coordinator.

"1. The City, or specifically the Public Works and Parks Departments, and the design team for the CSO project, came up with a solution to a problem that benefitted the community in multiple ways:

"* Disruption to the residents in the neighborhood was reduced - by taking the flow into the park, less pipework was required in the residential area.
* Costs savings for the ratepayer – as noted, diverting the flows to the park reduced the amount of big pipes, and saved the City over $500,000.
* A new feature has been added to the park. We have provided the community something above ground that can be seen and enjoyed by the public.

"2. This project benefits the water quality of the receiving stream, notably the Little Papillion Creek. The completion of this project provided a link between two previously completed projects, and by doing this it removed the storm water contribution from a large area that contributed to the overflows at our Saddle Creek CSO outfall. Downstream of this project is the Aksarben Village redevelopment area. Public Works required the construction of new storm and sanitary sewers as a part of that redevelopment. These sewers were designed to accommodate the flows the flows from this area. In addition, a project completed in the early 1990’s in the upper parts of the basin included the construction of storm sewers in an area that experienced a significant amount of sewer backups into basements when it rained. This project tied all of that work together and removed the storm water from the Saddle Creek combined sewer. So when it rains, we have less sewage in the Little Papillion Creek because of this project. That is why we have a CSO Program – we are required by the Clean Water Act to reduce the impacts of our combined sewer overflows on the Missouri River and the Papillion Creek and its tributaries.

3. An additional benefit to water quality. At the upstream end of the Elmwood Diversion is a large structure that is maintained by the Sewer Maintenance Division. This structure captures some sediment and other pollutants that are in the runoff from the neighborhood, although some of that passes through the structure and is filtered out by the native grasses in the park. The primary responsibility of this structure is to capture trash and debris. This used to go to the creek when it rained; it is now captured and hauled away."