Innovative Solutions to Old Problems

Innovative Solutions to Old Problems

Stormwater runoff has been a societal problem for thousands of years, dating all the way back to the Bronze Age when ancient Greeks started to develop solutions to help offset the increase in impervious surfaces. Although civilization has made many advances since then, the concepts of stormwater runoff collection and conveyance have remained the mostly same – capture the flow and take it elsewhere. What once was thought of as a basic solution has now become problematic, as the amount of impervious surface has dramatically increased with the growth of our communities. This has caused our water quality to diminish over time while putting a huge strain on our local stormwater systems. One of the unique opportunities I have had at TREKK has been addressing this issue using non-traditional stormwater systems that are slowly being implemented in cities across the United States. Instead of capturing flow and taking it away as quickly as possible, green infrastructure (GI) takes a different approach – capture and infiltrate the stormwater runoff to improve water quality and pipe capacity and increase aesthetic appeal. Green infrastructure includes a variety of drainage solutions, such as pavers, rain gardens, infiltration basins, and stormwater street trees. The concept behind GI is to collect pollutants, chemicals, and other contaminants before they enter the stormwater system, thus improving the water quality. This is achieved by capturing the stormwater runoff and storing it until can infiltrate into the ground. The stormwater runoff collected by GI reduces the amount entering the stormwater system, therefore reducing capacity issues to existing stormwater systems. Perhaps one of the underrated aspects of green infrastructure is...
We eat our own cooking…

We eat our own cooking…

I recently finished reading a book titled “Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder.” The book primarily covered the topic of risk, how risk is created, how to avoid excess risk, etc. With many years of dedicated study on the subject and experience working as a risk manager for a profitable hedge fund, the author could be described as one of the world’s foremost experts on the topic of risk. (Yes, a majority of the book is as boring and nerdy as you would expect it to be.) As I read through the book, the last chapter, titled “Fitting Ethics to a Profession,” struck a chord with me. The author pointed to the many flaws of modern professions and how the very nature of these professions doom the people the profession intended to protect. For example, the heads of banks took on an excess amount of risk causing the financial collapse of 2008. While the CEOs of these banks were able to jump ship without losing any more than a dime, the U.S. taxpayers, who were free from wrongdoing, were forced to bail out these banks at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. What attributes these professions to fail at such a large scale? Ultimately, it is due to the lack of accountability that these professions hold that allow them to err and be free of consequences on their side. In contrast, professions that take these consequences head on have what the author likes to refer to as “skin in the game.” Early Roman engineers were required to spend days beneath the bridges they designed following their construction....
IMPROVING LIVES.

IMPROVING LIVES.

When you hear a phrase like Improving Lives, what is the first thing that comes to mind? It might be lending a hand to a neighbor, helping out a friend in need, or treating people that you meet every day a little better. Here at TREKK Design Group, it means making the world better for everyone who is impacted by our project work. The idea that inspecting one manhole, smoke testing one sewer segment, cleaning and televising one sewer line, or conducting a survey for a new street design can Improve Lives can be difficult for some to wrap their head around. To me, this means that we are making the waterways of America cleaner and the streets we drive on safer. The basic daily functions of getting from point A to B safely in your vehicle, turning on the water faucet and getting clean water, or flushing your toilet and removing waste from your house are all things that people take for granted. These are also some key items that separate the United States from other countries that would love to have paved roads, clean water, and sanitation. Each day that any TREKK employee comes to work, they have the unique opportunity to improve the world, serve communities, and live out our purpose of Improving Lives. In the Wastewater Department, we have the ability to stop sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) and combined sewer overflows (CSOs). An SSO is any un-permitted overflow of untreated sewage that discharges before it reaches the treatment facility. A CSO is any unpermitted overflow in a combined sewer system that reaches a waterway before...