57% of Crofton homes empty stormwater from roof drains and driveways directly into storm sewers which erode and pollute Beaver Creek. Those homes send 20 million gallons of water into the Creek for EACH ONE INCH RAIN. (Maryland has a total annual rainfall of 42 inches) The cost to manage that much rain in a storm water quality facility would be $26.7 million.
Many County Residents suffer from spongy lawns after each rainfall. Crofton resident, Aaron Gray, and family were one of the sufferers. Not only runoff from his own roof and garage, but rain from his neighbor, upslope of his back yard ran downhill from her downspouts into his yard.
The Gray family volunteered to be one of the demonstration sites in the Crofton Stormwater Runoff Project funded by National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. Three other demonstration sites were simple to construct with volunteer diggers from Envisions Landscaping and Balanced Life Skills. Sandy soils allowed the stormwater from downspouts and driveway to pond and then sink into the soils, watering native plants in the process.
The Gray raingarden’s gooey clay soils ponded, collecting water from the balance of the lawn, but no infiltration occurred! His neighbor up slope installed two rainbarrels to capture and direct stormwater from her roof into her own planting beds, but the Gray’s backyard remained soggy.
Then, on the recommendation of Joe Berg, Biohabitats, Inc. Consultant to the Project, Aaron dug the raingarden twice the size of the other demos to make a hole 20’x 10’x1’ deep, filled it to the top with 2 tons of sand and a layer of compost, and dug in his anxiously waiting native plants. A porous plastic pipe leads from the bottom of the raingarden ten or fifteen feet toward his front lawn allowing excess water to be drawn down. It works! and it’s gorgeous!
We’ll be pleased to advise others in this technique, or any other, just let us know! Contact Anne Pearson, (use contact link at top of page) to visit the demonstration sites or for advice on how to develop your own. If we want clean Creeks and Rivers, it’s up to us to absorb the rain rather than allowing it to run from our roofs and driveways into storm drain pipes whose volume erodes and pollutes the Creeks we came here to celebrate.