Topic Archives: Sustainability

Ideas, comments and opinions about ways to make a better world through innovative, fundamentally sound engineering.

blog entry 003:

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TOPSOIL TO THE RESCUE

Across Eastern Iowa, communities from North Liberty, Coralville, and Cedar Rapids are implementing new ordinances related to post-construction topsoil restoration.These new laws are a response to the 2015 Iowa Department of Natural Resources ruling that required developers and/or homebuilders to restore topsoil at the completion of construction.The ruling did not become state law, and is now being considered at the municipal level of government.

On Tuesday, December 6, 2016, the 2nd largest city in Iowa, Cedar Rapids, passed their version of ordinances, (71 & 72), requiring a stricter topsoil standard for future developments. The hope is to enhance water quality, reduce flooding and erosion, recharge the aquifer and provide a healthier growing medium for lawns. The new ruling requires a 4” zone of restoration to a lot post-construction.

Our view: Although there is more research needed to determine the total benefits in flooding reduction, we do feel the benefits of a healthier planting medium for seeding or sod to grow in will result in healthier lawns requiring less toxic fertilizers and herbicides, as well as much less watering demands and reduced maintenance.This leads to reduced lifecycle costs for homeowners.In the long-term, the reduction of harmful toxins will mean less toxic runoff, thereby improving the quality of water and the environment, and improving the health of everyone, reducing healthcare costs in the future.In the end all will benefit!

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