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Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems - let's start here...

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Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems - let's start here...

Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems

As we have all noticed our weather is changing, and not for the better. Wetter summers and milder winters are leading to an overall increased annual rainfall. In many cases this excess water has nowhere to go, particularly in urban areas; this is where Sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS) come in.

SuDS are a series of installations and practices designed to drain surface water in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way; they are becoming more and more commonplace throughout the industry and on a large amount of construction sites are now mandatory. By mimicking natural drainage SuDS manage potential flooding, particularly during heavy storms, and watercourses and rivers by using natural treatment processes. Rather than diverting excess surface water away to somewhere else that could potentially flood SUDS deal with it at the source; by retaining water and releasing it at a controlled rate they not only prevent flooding on the site they are installed on but also further downstream.

With construction, particularly in towns and cities, rapidly preventing the natural runoff of water, innovative drainage systems have had to be implemented. An ageing sewage network cannot cope with the excess demand placed on it when storm water is added to the existing load. Pollution also gives cause for concern when excess water is not properly diverted; overflows and storm drain can quickly accumulate a large amount of unwanted material and deposit it in an unwanted place.

SuDS pipework raining

The most common SuDS in use today are:

There are also plenty of other options that can be used in conjunction with SuDS to improve the process; these include planting trees and other vegetation, installing ponds and creating wetlands. By using a combination of these and the SuDS listed above the system can have a real impact on the amount of surface water that leaves the site.

SuDS sunset

If planning regulations require a SuDS to be installed it would save both time and money to install a rainwater harvesting system at the same time. Fitting an entire system during construction rather than retrospectively would be by far the best choice. If your property is already finished this does not however mean that either a SuDS or rainwater harvesting system cannot be fitted retrospectively. These are environmentally friendly solutions to a modern day problem and there is never a bad time to go ahead with installation.

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