Managing Stormwater at Your Home

Stormwater is water that originates during rainfall and snow and ice melt. Stormwater management is essential to prevent flooding, erosion, and stream channel degradation. Stormwater management also aims to prevent water pollution when stormwater picks up pollution, such as chemicals, bacteria, sediment, and trash, and is carried to open drainage ways, and storm sewers that feed directly into local streams and rivers.

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Rain Gardens

A rain garden is a specially designed garden, with a man-made depression, that collects and infiltrates stormwater runoff. Rain gardens are usually planted with native flowerings, plants, or grasses. The deep root structures of the native plants allow the rain water and runoff to infiltrate back down into the ground rather than to run off of the property thus managing the stormwater on site. Each rain garden design is unique and dependent on the site condition and the owner’s personal tastes.

Impervious Surface Reduction

Permeable Paving Systems

Roads, parking lots, and driveways account for over 60% of impervious surfaces in urban areas. Consequently, pavement is the largest generator of stormwater runoff. Permeable paving systems capture stormwater and allow it to seep into the ground recharging groundwater, reducing stormwater runoff, and filtering out pollutants. It comes in the form of permeable asphalt, permeable concrete, and permeable pavers. Water passes though voids in the paving material or through the spaces between the pavers into layers of rock below the surface until it filters gradually into the soil below. A perforated drain tile is also installed in the rock chamber.



Bioswales achieve the same goals as rain gardens by slowing and filtering stormwater, but are designed to manage a specified amount of runoff from a large impervious area, such as a parking lot or roadway. Because they need to accommodate greater quantities of stormwater, they often require use of engineered soils and are deeper than rain gardens. They are also linear systems that are greater in length than width. Like rain gardens, they are vegetated with plants that can withstand both heavy watering and drought.

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Rain Barrels

A rain barrel is a container used to collect and store rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted out onto your property or to a storm drain and eventually to local streams or rivers. They typically hold 40-60 gallons of water and can be purchased or made with parts available at any hardware store. Rain barrels are also an economical way to store rain water to be used as a secondary water supply for indoor plants, flower gardens, lawns, fill the bird bath, and washing cars and windows.

What can I do?

Consider making these improvements at your home. As part of the City's stormwater management program, a Material Assistance/Cost Sharing Program is available to residents to encourage them to make select improvements on their property.