Combined Sewer Storm Water Systems may seem an unlikely topic for a landscape blog. I believe an understanding of the way storm water and sewerage are disposed of in Seattle (through the same pipes), leads to an opportunity for home owners. Water that runs off our streets and roofs into storm drains, it contains chemicals and bacteria. Puget Sound cities often collect this water and route it to a combined sewer/storm water water treatment system before it is released into rivers or the Puget Sound. During heavy storms in the Seattle area, the system becomes over loaded and untreated sewage flows into Lake Washington and Puget Sound.
Seattle has initiated a campaign to detach building downspouts from the water treatment system and, where suitable, divert the water into rain gardens and cisterns where it can infiltrate into the ground, or retained until the storm subsides. This Seattle initiative creates an opportunity homeowners may help protect our waterways and to enhance their landscape.
Starting in Ballard, but eventually extending to other catchments, Seattle Public Utilities is setting up a subsidy program to encourage homeowners to detach their downspouts and route storm water to cisterns and/or rain gardens in their yards. These cisterns and rain gardens are storm water treatment facilities. If you should decide to pursue this idea, and receive the subsidy, you will need to follow a relatively simple permitting process, commit to maintain the system for at least five years. Lifestyle Landscapes designers are experienced in the permitting and installation processes. With our designers help, you will end up with a new rain garden and the knowledge you have helped clean up Puget Sound and Lake Washington. In the long term, you will have increased the value of your property by enhancing its green credentials.
Irrespective of whether your home is eligible for this Seattle based program, installing a rain garden will enhance your property and improving the environment.