With major storm events becoming more frequent, managing stormwater is an ever increasing issue for homeowners. Impervious surfaces such as roofs and pavement keep the water from being absorbed into the ground. Additionally, large lawns of turf grass often do a poor job of soaking rain in quickly which can contribute to high volumes of water runoff. Stormwater runoff poses many issues for the environment and communities. Runoff frequently carries pollutants such as fertilizers, herbicides, pet waste, and litter into our waterways. If the water does not have a way to properly drain, it can lead to flooding and other property damage. Given the wide range of issues that can be caused by increased volumes of stormwater, it is important to consider different management strategies.
The most impactful way to manage stormwater properly is to figure out how to ‘slow it down and soak it up’. Slowing the water down can help prevent erosion and allows stormwater systems to adequately handle storm events. If stormwater can be absorbed into the ground on your property, that is even better since it prevents the water from entering and potentially overloading our sewer systems. There are many different strategies that homeowners can take to ‘slow it down and soak it up’ on their properties such as decreasing the amount of turf grass in their lawn or planting native gardens.
If changing your greenspace isn’t an option, consider installing a rain barrel or two. Rain barrels capture water from the roof and hold it for later use. They are typically attached to downspouts and can collect most if not all rain that falls on your roof. Once in the barrel, the water can then be used to irrigate your lawn, water house plants, or dispelled onto your property any time after the storm. Just 1/4 inch of rainfall can yield up to 150 gallons of water from a 1000 square foot roof. Imagine the water bill savings if you used that water in your outdoor irrigation! Rain barrels can be purchased from Clermont SWCD, through Save Local Waters’ Rain Barrel Art Project, or you can build your own rain barrel using repurposed plastic containers. If you have any questions about using rain barrels on your property or about the Rain Barrel Art Project, please contact Education Coordinator Kat Zelak at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently, Duke Energy and the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) partnered with a homeowners’ association in a Union Township subdivision to combat runoff problems and beautify the neighborhood at the same time.
Under a $25,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation, Clermont SWCD worked with the Shayler Woods Homeowners Association (HOA) to install a 1000 square foot rain garden in a section of the subdivision where storm water did not receive any treatment before it reached a small creek. The garden will catch storm flows from two small drainage areas and allow it to soak into the ground over a day or two rather than running off into the creek. Along with reducing flow, the garden will help filter pollutants, including nutrients found in lawn fertilizers what can contribute to algae blooms.
Gene Benninger, the president of the Shayler Woods HOA, said “We are pleased that our community was chosen for this project. It has greatly enhanced the appearance of the landscape, and we look forward to Spring when everything will be blooming.”
Clermont SWCD offers guidance to any landowner in Clermont County, including homeowners associations, interested in creating their own rain garden. Requests for assistance can be made by calling (513) 732-7075. or sending an email to email@example.com.