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CityLink Seattle

Ballard Residents Protecting Puget Sound with Rain Gardens

Some Ballard residents are doing their part to protect our local waterways from polluted stormwater runoff. They are doing this by installing rain gardens on their properties.

Rain gardens can be thought of as a personal water quality system. A rain garden is a shallow, constructed depression that is planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses. It is located in your landscape to receive runoff from hard surfaces such as a roof, a sidewalk and a driveway. Rain gardens slow down the rush of water from these hard surfaces, hold the water for a short period of time and allow it to naturally infiltrate into the ground.

Take a virtual tour of these beautiful gardens to see how they are slowing the flow. The tour is a creation of Sustainable Ballard

Why is slowing the flow of stormwater important?

About two-thirds of Seattle is served by a combined or partially-separated sewer system. During heavy rains, the volume of stormwater and sewage may exceed the capacity of the system, which carries both wastewater from homes and businesses, and stormwater from streets and parking lots. The volume of wastewater builds quickly and overwhelms the system, leading not only to sewage spilling into our waterways but also polluted stormwater runoff from rooftops, streets and other hard surfaces.

Seattle Public Utilities provides rebates in some neighborhoods for installation of rain gardens. Find out if you’re eligible.