Lately, I have become intrigued with the idea of redirecting the stormwater runoff from my garage roof into a rain garden. “Stormwater has been identified as one of the leading sources of pollution for all water body types in the United States.” Read more about stromwater runoff on the epa website.
When I first read that quote about stormwater it didn’t make sense to me. That was because I had no idea how storm sewers work. The conventional method of handling stormwater contributes to stream erosion and water pollution because it is designed to convey water off site and into the underground maze of pipes as quickly as possible. Once all the water from the storm event is funneled into the sewer system it picks up velocity and volume and literally gushes into streams and creeks which causes erosion of stream beds and banks. Additionally as it moves from the sidewalks to the streets and through the underground system, it picks up all the contaminants in its path (gas, oil, pet waste, trash, salt, yard waste, fertilizers, weed killers, etc.) causing water quality contamination.
Building a rain garden allows stormwater to be kept on site and naturally filtered through the ground where it can eventually find its way back to the water table. Rather than being contaminated along its path, it is purified as it filters through the layers of the rain garden. However, I am barely able to keep the cilantro and basil in my little window boxes alive, so the idea of a rain garden seems a little intimidating. Luckily, this Saturday there is a Water Festival at Hazelwood East High School (11300 Dunn Road, St. Louis, MO 63138). The Living Green in Watkins Creek Water Festival begins at 10AM and closes at 2PM.
From the press release:
Rain Gardens, rain barrels, jazz musicians, and fire trucks will highlight the array of topics, hands on learning and just plain fun expected at the Living Green in Watkins Creek Watershed community water festival…The first-ever event will feature water quality information and exciting learning activities for students and adults wanting to know more about their natural environment. More than 20 exhibitors will represent a range of environmental, education and community organizations. Come and learn about how our natural water system works to support the living ecology of our world….Learn about the steps that residents can take to help keep our rivers and stream clean. AmeriCorps Stream Team volunteers will lead a Confluence sponsored stream clean up of Watkins Creek near the high school on the morning of the water festival.
Living Green in Watkins Creek Watershed is a partnership with RegionWise, an urban center at Saint Louis University, the Hazelwood School District (HSD), Metropolitan Sewer District, Missouri Department of Conservation, and the Missouri Botanical Gardens.