Neighbors Work to Reduce Runoff

Project Summary: Residents of two streets in a Cleveland suburb have installed rain barrels and rain gardens to reduce storm water impacts—and to inspire other neighbors to take simple steps to eliminate flooding in the area and pollution into Lake Erie.

Title: Parma Neighborhood Stormwater Initiative

Location: Parma, Ohio

People admire the rain gardens that have been installed along a street in Parma, Ohio. These rain gardens catch and slow water when it rains to decrease flooding in the area. Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Metroparks.

People admire the rain gardens that have been installed along a street in Parma, Ohio. These rain gardens catch and slow water when it rains to decrease flooding in the area. Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Metroparks.

Description: Development in the City of Parma has taken a toll on the nearby West Creek, a tributary to Lake Erie. About 35 percent of the area in the watershed is surface that does not absorb water. Rainwater runs off roofs, down driveways and into the drainage pipes. There’s little organic material in lawns to soak it up. Like many cities, the City of Parma has storm drains that empty into the nearby creek. The storm water carries excess nutrients and chemicals from lawn fertilizer, and oils and grease from pavement, all of which hurts water quality in the creek. And the intense volume of the storm water that follows heavy rains scours the banks of the creek, harming habitat and exacerbating erosion downstream. Solving the problem requires the participation of individual residents who live in the city.

Approximate cost of project: $400,000 ($290,000 of which came from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative)

Rain barrels store water that would otherwise run off rooftops and flow into city drains. The stored water can then be used to water lawns or gardens throughout the season. Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Metroparks.

Rain barrels store water that would otherwise run off rooftops and flow into city drains. The stored water can then be used to water lawns or gardens throughout the season. Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Metroparks.

Resource challenges addressed: Impervious surfaces, excess runoff,  high nutrient runoff, polluted runoff.

Key partners (public and private): Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Cleveland Metroparks, West Creek Conservancy, the City of Parma, and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

Types of jobs created: Construction, design and landscaping, and a part-time steward at the West Creek Conservancy.

Results and accomplishments: In total, 28 homes are participating in the project, having installed either rain barrels, rain gardens, or both. Rain barrels reduce the intensity of storm water that enters the creek. The rain gardens also soak up storm water and help filter pollutants. As of 2013, 64 rain barrels have been installed along with 11 rain gardens on individual properties and 25 rain gardens have been planted adjacent to city streets. The program is expected to reduce runoff along these streets by 49 percent.

Web site: http://bit.ly/1jqYYJ5

Originally Published: August 22, 2013

Updated: February 5, 2014

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