New buildings beginning to include flood prevention systems - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New buildings beginning to include flood prevention systems

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Today in downtown Cedar Rapids there's a new, $46 million library but it took losing the old building to the floods of 2008 to get here.

"This is a public building and the community sort of owns it and so when we lost the library it impacted everyone," said Amber Mussman, Community Relations Manager for the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

The silver lining was the fact they could re-build and do it better. Beyond the books there's the Living Learning Rooftop which doesn't just look pretty. It has two 5,000 gallon cisterns collect rainwater from the roof and prevent it from going into storm sewers. A system underground holds water from the rest of the building.

"We are able to absorb, capture, harvest, and sequester almost all the storm water that lands on this particular property," said Bruce Hamous, Project Manager for OPN Architects.

The water goes back into the rooftop garden, watering the flowers when there's no rain.

The library is all about teachable moments and that includes the cistern system. They've got a sign right here to help explain what it is and how it works.

The Central Fire Station and the Federal Courthouse also have cisterns. Each building came after the originals flooded in 2008. Now officials hope to do their part to prevent future flooding.

"Because the building was lost to a flood, we talked about how we were going to design this building, making sure we weren't going to be contributing to any future flooding was a priority," said Mussman.

It's estimated the library property receives nearly two million gallons of rain each year. About 80% of that will be recycled back to the property.

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