Installing a Rain Garden (also known as a bio-swale) is a great way to help protect our local watersheds. A Rain Garden is essentially a shallow depression in your yard designed to capture and temporarily store rain water run off from impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways and patios to allow it to soak into the ground. Most often it is connected to your downspout to collect roof water as this is the easiest water to re-direct into a rain garden. Rain water runoff carries a lot of pollutants that can potentially enter our local watersheds. By managing storm-water on-site we can reduce pollutants in our streams by allowing the water to naturally filter through the soil.
The City of Portland has a combined sewer/stormwater system and treats this water before releasing it into the our rivers. However, treating this volume of water is expensive for the city and the main reason our water bills are so high. In addition during major rain events the combined sewer/stormwater system occasionally overflows and untreated sewage spills into the Willamette River. If more people managed storm water on-site we could reduce the frequency of these river polluting events.
Rain Gardens often look like planted dry creek bed and will create a uniquely beautiful addition to your yard that will impress your friends, family and neighbors while helping to protect the environment. They are usually heavily planted because plants help to soak up excess water and reduce pollutants.
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