The Plaza de Fundación, which is full of tiled artistic pieces that celebrate the founding of our community, is the wonderful center piece attraction of the new San Pedro Creek Culture Park. Its design invites visitors to cool their feet in the waters of San Pedro Creek. For this reason, the Plaza de Fundación is the only location along the new San Pedro Creek Culture Park that allows for water contact. Visitors may wade through the ankle deep waters of the Plaza de Fundación, enjoying the creek water as they contemplate the history of our community in the beautiful surroundings of modern-day downtown San Antonio. Water contact is only allowable in the Plaza de Fundación, and swimming is not allowed in any location of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park, including the Plaza de Fundación. The San Pedro Creek is located in an urban environment, and like urban environments around the world, there is a risk of pollutants getting into the creek from non-treated stormwater runoff when it rains. As a result, bacteria levels may occasionally be high in the waters of San Pedro Creek. This is why responsible water contact (shallow wading only) in the Plaza de Fundación is allowable; however, recreational activities such as swimming, where creek water may be ingested or swallowed, is not allowed. The San Antonio River Authority (SARA) conducts weekly water quality tests of the Plaza de Fundación and publically posts the results on its website. The San Pedro Creek Culture Park was also built to incorporate features designed to help mitigate water quality concerns from stormwater runoff. Continue reading below to learn more about the bioswales and stormwater interceptors that are helping to protect the San Pedro Creek Culture Park.
Bioswale (pronunciation: bye-oh-s/whale) is a specially landscaped stormwater feature that soaks up and filters stormwater runoff from hard surfaces such as roofs, pavement, and parking lots. A bioswale is constructed with quick-draining soil and drainage layers to filter and clean stormwater and make it healthy and usable for the creek’s flora and fauna. All the bioswales along San Pedro Creek receive stormwater runoff from city streets, pavement, and parking lots. The native plants provide water quality and wildlife benefits.
Stormwater Interceptors are specialized mechanical devices that are installed at some of the stormwater inlets. Their job is to capture floating trash and debris before it gets into the creek. A highly simplified way of explaining what a stormwater interceptor does is to think of it as one of those kitchen tools called a “salad spinner.” It whirls around and forces drops of water off of freshly washed lettuce leaves.