A deluge of rain may seem a long way off in the middle of a drought, but contractors at a new Goleta development are preparing for future storms with some clever engineering designed to keep the water away.
Crews working on Hollister Village, at 7000 Hollister Ave. across from Camino Real Marketplace, have created an innovative storm water capture solution on a grand scale — not that anyone will notice. The half-mile-long pipe system will be completely covered by the project’s parking lot, according to Penfield & Smith engineer Don Donaldson, who gave reporters a look at the system Friday.
The 23½-acre parcel is slated to be the home of a mixed-use project containing 266 apartments and a neighborhood shopping center. Formerly known as the Westar project for the name of the property owner and management company, the project, now dubbed Hollister Village, is on track to complete the retail phase by the end of 2014, with the housing phase finished by 2015, said Jim Youngson, a partner at Terrain Consulting. Retail leasing is just beginning.
In the meantime, Hollister Village workers, including contractors with Irvine-based Driver Urban, were busy Friday laying in the polyethylene pipes, which are five feet in diameter, and pouring gravel into the large basin that will soon occupy the ground beneath the project’s parking lot.
Donaldson explained that the pipes can hold 1 million gallons of water, which would fill 22,000 bathtubs, more than the City of Goleta has. After a storm, he said, water will flow into the underground basin and then into the pipes, which will slowly release the water into the city’s storm drain system or back into the water table.
Because of the slow release, the runoff will have less of an impact on water quality in streams and the ocean, Donaldson said. Urban runoff often contains pollutants like hydrocarbons from road surfaces that can end up in bodies of water.
“The collection and retention of storm water pollutants onsite allows them to break down naturally within the upper layer of soil, and without allowing them to enter the food chain, either via creek or slough, or into the ocean,” Donaldson said.
Water will filter through a layer of crushed rock and soil before it rejoins the water table.
The area has had flooding problems in the past, Donaldson said. Although the underground solution was significantly more expensive than leaving it above ground, with higher land values, “it makes sense,” he added.