When it rains, most people are more concerned about finding their umbrellas or raincoats than what happens to all the water draining from their homes, driveways and yards. Yet stormwater runoff, and the pollutants it often carries into our waterways, remains a significant threat to water quality. Likewise, few people consider where all the wastewater goes when you brush your teeth, take a shower, or flush the toilet. It just magically disappears, right? Sorry, it may be out of sight, but if you care about the environment, it shouldn’t be out of mind.
In many cities such as Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, they use grey infrastructure to help manage their stormwater and wastewater. Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District has the huge task of handling all that sewage and stormwater and to prevent pollution from the discharge of treated water into nearby Lake Michigan.
So what is this grey infrastructure anyway? It’s easy enough to see their massive sewage treatment facilities that handle the sewage generated throughout the city and 28 municipalities that are part of the District. But where does all that stormwater go when it washes off the streets and buildings and runs down the storm drains?
Watch the video below to get an underground look at how their Deep Tunnel system works 24-7 to prevent untreated sewage from being discharged into Lake Michigan.
Another method of managing stormwater runoff is with green infrastructure. This is where individual homes and businesses employ a variety of methods and technologies to prevent runoff from their properties. Watch the video above and to the right to see a Supa-Green Infrastructure in action.
To really dig deeper into the environmental implications of both grey and green infrastructures in your home or city:
- Explore the extended learning section below by clicking on the “Learn More” tab below to discover more about grey and green infrastructures.
- Or better yet, ask your teacher to download the lessons below so your entire classroom can share in peer-driven learning.
Also, find out more about what you can do to keep your local waters healthy and clean by checking out the website of our educational partner, Wisconsin Land+Water.