Evaluating sustainable technologies for a living city, Toronto and Region: Area of Concern

A retrofitted "green parking lot" in Vaughan, Ontario, with stormwater infiltration technology.

Photo: Laud Matos, Environment and Climate Change Canada.

2013-2015 Funding: $405,000, including $135,000 provided by the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund

Other Project Contributors: Toronto and Region ConservationAuthority, Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Toronto Remedial Action Plan, Region of Peel, York Region, City of Toronto, City of Mississauga, City of Brampton, City of Vaughan and Aquatech Dewatering Company.

From parking lots to stormwater ponds, researchers supported by the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund are evaluating the technologies and planning practices that will support more liveable communities in Canada.

The evaluation work is being carried out as part of the Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program (STEP), a multi-agency initiative led by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. STEP is evaluating clean water, air and energy technologies, developing tools and best practices, and working with participating municipal governments, industry and others to promote broader use of proven technologies. 

A focus of the work is looking for ways to improve how cities manage stormwater runoff, including: 

  • evaluating the potential for “green parking lots” by looking at the performance of two stormwater infiltration technologies that have been retrofitted into a parking lot in Vaughan; such technologies can help reduce or eliminate landscape irrigation costs, improve stormwater retention and reduce treatment costs, and reduce pollutant loading in receiving watercourses;
  • developing an operation and maintenance guide for low impact development stormwater practices; these practices focus on preventing or reducing runoff, treating stormwater at the source as a resource (for irrigation, for example), and creating landscapes that meet several functions (including wildlife habitat and parks); and,
  • preparing a best practices guide for maintaining stormwater ponds, based on Canadian and international case studies; the guide will be aimed at municipal staff and other owner/operators responsible for the maintenance of stormwater management facilities.

STEP is a key component of a broader initiative, “The Living City” - a vision based on developing more environmentally friendly urban spaces through individual, community and corporate action. Public and industry outreach and education are important elements of STEP projects. For example, in addition to providing extensive information through its website and publications, the conservation authority presents its findings at meetings of major industry associations in the fields of stormwater management and sediment control practices.

For more information, please visit: Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program.

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