Flowing with Innovation
The living and breathing park exemplifies beauty with purpose, as it also serves as flood control for the city and county, its people, and everything they hold dear.
San Pedro Creek Culture Park is situated in a highly urbanized area of downtown San Antonio and when it rains the stormwater that flows over parking lots, roof tops and other impervious surfaces accumulates pollutants before discharging into San Pedro Creek. When this occurs, E.Coli bacteria levels within the creek may become elevated and exceed the standards set by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. This is why responsible water contact – shallow wading only – in the Plaza de Fundación is allowed.
When rainfall in the watershed that flows into the San Pedro Creek is equal to or greater that a quarter of an inch, the San Antonio River Authority will suspend water flow into the Plaza de Fundación and initiate a daily water quality testing protocol recording the E.Coli levels until the levels no longer exceed the State Standards. Once the levels are within the standard, the water flow to the plaza will resume.
The San Antonio River Authority 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.
Reducing the impact of contaminates from stormwater runoff on creeks and rivers is a primary focus of the San Antonio River Authority’s watershed sustainability program. Through the use of sustainable development practices and green infrastructure techniques, known as Low Impact Development, pollutants such as E.Coli use native plants and other biofiltration approaches to filter these contaminants from the stormwater before it is discharged into our waterways resulting in improved water quality. These techniques have been used along the San Pedro Creek Culture Park; however, stormwater upstream of the park flowing into the creek, does not have the benefit of these features.
To view more information on TCEQ recreational standards:
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.
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.