Perfect storm comes together for blue roof

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By Andrea Cordle
Southwest Editor

The city of Grove City is continuing its ‘green’ efforts by going blue.

Grove City, Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District and Columbus-based company the Rain Brothers collaborated to install a new blue roof on the Grove City Safety Complex, which includes the division of police and mayor’s court.

David Reutter, an urban conservationist at Franklin Soil and Water, said blue roofs consist of an expanding shale or cloth material that will hold rainwater, allowing time for evaporation before the water enters the downspouts.

“It is a slower release than normal storm water drainage,” said Reutter.

The remaining water goes through the downspouts to a system of underground pipes into a detention basin. The water is then gradually released into the ground.

“This is part of a treatment train,” said Reutter.

According to Reutter, the storm water from the safety complex flows to Republican Run.

“This creek has been identified as having some urban runoff,” he said. “The blue roof system will result in runoff reduction for Republican Run.”

Republican Run flows to the Scioto River.

Blue roofs are the latest eco-friendly technology to help filter rain water and lessen the load on storm sewers, thereby slowing the flow of storm water into rivers and streams.

Grove City is the first municipality in Ohio to try out the blue roof.

The city’s environmental coordinator, Linda Rosine, said the project just all came together.

“It was a perfect storm, no pun intended,” she said.

First, the city had some interior water leaks at the safety complex due to the flat-basin roof. They needed roof repairs. Then the division of police wanted to add an honorary rain garden and patio to the building. According to Rosine, the city installs a new rain garden each year.

This rain garden will assist the blue roof. During heavy rainfall, excess water is diverted to the rain garden where the native plants filter pollutants before it enters the groundwater system.

Because of the innovative nature of the project, the city received a $15,000 grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The city had to match approximately 25 percent of the grant.

For those interested in learning more about the blue roof, there is an educational sign in front of the safety complex, located at 3360 Park St., to explain the process.

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