Science with Phil: Episode 1

July 19, 2010 by Parks Conservancy Staff

SoilsToday we're taking you underground! Over the next few posts we'll be looking at how specially constructed soil profiles can help to reduce the problem of storm water runoff we've been talking so much about lately. Our Director of Management and Maintenance, Phil Gruszka, conducted a science experiment last week to see whether the soil profile he put in place at Schenley Plaza and the Mellon Park Walled Garden really does help infiltrate water. You can watch the demonstration unfold on video, starting with the clips below.

Phil introduces the concept of the importance of soils to the appearance and functionality of the parks:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlc7_dKQ3Ms]

The three components of a soil profile: drainage gravel, bridging gravel, and root zone mix, and what each one does:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yD9aplhSjWc]

Replicating the soil profile at Schenley Plaza:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1NDJzL_L4E]

Using a sponge, Phil demonstrates the importance of having deep columns of topsoil to support plants and infiltrate water:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0bYghBfWUE]

In our next post we'll watch what happens over the course of an hour when we simulate a five-inch rainstorm.

* Thanks to Natural Sand Company in Slippery Rock for donating the materials for this demonstration!

Parks Management, Stormwater and Green Infrastructure