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Stormwater Case Study: Rain Garden in
a Brownfield

City of Toledo South Erie Street Rain Garden
The City of Toledo received one of the SWIF grants to expand a rain garden demonstration project on the grounds of the Barney Quilter Environmental Services Building. The property is near the Toledo Farmers Market and Swan Creek in an area that had once been an industrial site. The rain garden is part of a solution to remediate the brownfield property and keep the land useful. Because the property is assumed to still have some environmental problems, water from storms or snowmelt cannot be discharged off the property. Stormwater needs to be managed on site. The 2900-square-foot rain garden is in a low spot near the intersection of Krauss Street and South Erie Street. A curb and pipe direct stormwater to the garden, keeping water from flowing into the sewers. The water then ponds in the garden, gradually filtering into the soil and nurturing plantings of trees, grasses and wildflowers. To construct the garden, the soil was amended with a mixture of sand for filtration and compost (organic matter) which promotes the breakdown of pollutants. Beneath the soil a perforated pipe distributes stormwater across the length of the garden. The plants take up some of the water and convert chemicals to biomass as they grow. Water that filters through the soil is naturally treated. Petroleum products degrade into less harmful chemical components when filtered through soils that are rich in organic matter.

Regina S. Collins, senior environmental specialist with the City of Toledo, is the project manager for the rain garden. She notes that in addition to storing floodwater and improving water quality, the garden is attractive and provides habitat for wildlife. “We selected native plant species,” she said. “They are deep rooted plants that thrive in conditions of flood and drought. They act to hold the soil in place and tend to thrive in our climate.” She added that the garden should require minimal maintenance once the plants are established.

Regina Collins, senior environmental specialist with the City of Toledo, points out some
of the elements of the rain garden.

 

Paint and flags show where a curb will be constructed to direct water from the street to the garden. Stones near the entrance will slow the flow of water to reduce erosion or washout in times of heavy flow.

 


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