DETROIT (WWJ) – It looks like a 20-foot-long bundle of small plastic tubes with a gap cut in them.
But its inventors say the tubes, used by the Southfield startup Parjana Inc. as part of a novel drainage system, will revolutionize road building, home building, agriculture — and can even prevent mass death in the developing world from diseases spread by stagnant surface water.
“There’s no way to get rid of surface water in the world today,” said Parjana co-founder and managing partner Gregory L. McPartlin. “Water always wins. You can move it, but you are just moving the problem.”
Enter Parjana, whose inventor, Andrew Niemczyk, said he created the product to solve his own wet basement problem.
McPartlin and Niemczyk said the Parjana tubes use the fact that the soil is always in motion, expanding and contracting with the change of temperature. This motion energy foces water into the Parjana tubes, where it simply flows into the ground at the bottom of the tubes, recharging the groundwater.
“All we’re doing is accelerating the process of mother earth, rechaging the ground water,” McPartlin said.
The product is called EGRP, for the Energy-passive Groundwater Recharge Pump.
Standing surface water after a heavy rain is a constant problem at golf courses, which will probably wany to use Parjana technology, McPartlin said. And in case you forgot, what makes potholes is water in the soils beneath pavement expanding in the wamth and contracting in the cold. Installing Parjana tubes beneath the road bed should solve that problem, McPartlin said.
And in the developing world, its developers say Parjana technology can eliminate the standing pools of fetid water that, in tropical climates, spawn diseases like malaria, dysentery and cholera.
Friday, Parjana started installation of 10 sets of tubes in a demonstration project in the southwest corner of Detroit’s Coleman A. Young International Airport, along Lynch Road adjacent to Davis Aerospace Technical High School and a Federal Aviation Administration’s radio building. It’s a trouble spot every time there’s a heavy rain, according to Jason Watt, the airport’s general manager.
“The water goes over the access road and we can’t get trucks back here, they get stuck,” Watt said. “It’s awful to try to mow back here.”
It shouldn’t be for much longer, according to McPartlin and Niemczyk.
The tubes can be cut in several lengths, from 10 feet for installations around a home with an 8-foot basement to 20 feet for large commercial installations. A drillng rig simply drills a hole no more than a few inches in diameter the appropriate length plus a foot or two, and the tubes are installed. The top of the tubes is a foot or two beneath the surface, so nothing is visible above ground.
Parjana has already installed about 75 of its systems around Michigan, all with successful results.
McPartlin and Niemczyk said the system even cleans the water as it makes its way back down through the soil to the water table,
Kahle Pulley, of Grand Rapids-based West Michigan Waterproofing, assisted Niemczyk in the installation, and said the Parjana system has huge potential in residential applications for homes with wet basements.
And McPartlin credited Gil Pezza, director of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s Water Technology Initiative, for helping boost the young company. Pezza was among several government officials and other dignitaries attending Friday’s installation, and said the technology has “huge implications.”
More at www.parjana.com.