Hydrocity- Rethinking Runoff Water

In the year 2163, the city of Hydrocity is located where Detroit existed 150 years ago. The Hydrocity region has the largest source of fresh water in the world. 150 years ago Detroit and its water system was highly polluted due to inadequate sewer systems, poor drainage, industry and agriculture. These systems directly dumped into the lakes and rivers of the Detroit area watershed. The water in this region was unusable for drinking, recreation and wildlife. Hydrocity solves the problem of run off through porous pavement and rain water collection systems, and advanced sewage separation which separates sewage from gray water. Hydrocity is now a city with clean waterways, and thriving fishing and recreation industries. The end result is a city with a growing population of 2.4 million citizens. People are now moving into and visiting this clean, water rich community.

The problem that Hydrocity inherited from Detroit was that when it rained, storm water runoff was taking many pollutants from the city and dumping them in the sewer system. The sewers overflowed, dumping these pollutants and raw sewage into the watershed. There were also pesticides and fertilizers from agriculture, and industrial wastes dumped directly into Detroit’s water system. Along with other economic factors, this negatively affected the development of our city and our local ecology. Higher disease rates created higher expenses due to medical costs. Water treatment facilities were incapable of cleaning water. Public waterways were ruined which destroyed the environment and chased away tourists.

To reinvent Detroit into Hydrocity, the city planners’ vision was to create a place where people would want to come to visit, live and work. Hydrocity would be the regional hub for tourists who would come to enjoy the freshwater activities. People would want to live here to work in the tourism, fishing, water treatment and engineering industries.

Hydrocity has many components to the clean water solution. The solution is designed so no pollutants ever reach the natural watershed. The basic system is designed to have separate solutions for black and gray waste water and for rain run-off water. Gray water from residential, commercial, and light industrial is collected, but does not require the treatment that black water does. This water is recycled and used to water our public facilities like golf courses, or watering our parks and lawns. Black water (raw sewage) from all sources is sent to Hydrocity’s treatment facilities located in the old salt mines beneath the city. Some of the salts are used as well as bacteria and enzymes that our scientists have enhanced to break down the waste into non-harmful substances. This treated sewage is used to create usable products like fertilizers, and clean water is filtered out and combined with the gray water.

Rain water that causes run-off is managed through building designs and the use of porous pavement for public walkways and transportation routes. Each building collects rainwater instead of dumping it into the streets or sewer systems. The porous pavement allows for rainwater to flow directly to the ground instead of into sewers. In cases of severe rain, the water is held in the pavement like a sponge and allowed to absorb into the ground. The porous material is made up of very thin tubing using picotechnology (smaller then nanotechnology). Silver is used due to its natural ability to kill harmful bacteria. Other materials that speed up decomposition of organic materials are also used in the tubing. Storm water is then naturally filtered by the earth, as nature intended. This porous pavement is made in sections, so they are easily replaced if damaged and are connected with flexible tubing to allow for movement that might occur in the ground. A second feature of the pavement is that when it gets cold, the water will not freeze and crack the pavement. Geothermal energy is used to heat a solution of the recycled brown water that is pumped through the tubing.

The risks associated with this solution have been greatly reduced. The overflow of raw sewage that happened in the past has been addressed by splitting the rainwater and gray water away from sewage water. The treatment facilities in the salt mines can be expanded to meet with population growth. The porous concrete was designed to be built in sections, so any damaged portion can be easily removed and replaced. The strength of the picotechnology will ensure the material will not wear or decay for many decades, and requires only minimal technology and costs for upkeep.
The engineering disciplines involved are varied from mechanical engineers to hydroelectric engineers. Our Mechanical and Hydroelectric Engineers created the design for the porous pavement and the picotechnology that provide the additional benefits of water filtration and cleaning. We also have Civil Engineers who plan the layout of where all the structures in our city will be, and Sanitation Engineering Specialists that developed the system to manage the black (sewer) water, and the gray and rain water run-off separately.

Our community has seen the benefits of the Hydrocity solution in many ways. The water is safe to drink and enjoy its many recreational benefits. The plant and animal life both in and around the water has recovered to healthy, sustainable levels. The parks and private property both have lush, green grasses, and trees and shrubs that are healthy. The increased amount of plants will help to improve air quality as well. The population and tourism have increased, making Hydrocity’s economy stable.

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