Stormwater and Green Infrastructure

rain barrelThe rainfall total for October 2013 set a new record for Louisville with 9.94 inches.  With this news, it is a good time to look at what we can do to reduce our stormwater output and some of the programs that MSD offers to help with this.  This week’s Green Triangle blog focus is stormwater and green infrastructure.

The EPA explains green infrastructure, “Unlike single-purpose gray stormwater infrastructure, which uses pipes to dispose of rainwater, green infrastructure uses vegetation and soil to manage rainwater where it falls.”

Making sure that more water gets returned to the ground, and groundwater, will help reduce combined sewer overflows into our local creeks.  Combined sewer overflows occur after large rains when there is too much stormwater combining with the sewage from our homes, causing sewage to flow in local waterways.  Visit the MSD website to learn more about combined sewer overflows.

One way that we can lessen the amount of stormwater going into the combined sewer system is to disconnect our downspouts from the sewer.  You can reroute the water to flow into a grassy area near your home or into your garden.  You can choose to install a rain barrel once your downspout is disconnected so that you can store the water for future use in the garden.  However, the most important part for lessening the stormwater in the combined sewer system is the disconnection of your downspout.  Find instructions for disconnecting your downspout.

If you want to install a rain barrel after disconnecting your downspout, watch a MetroTV video from MSD on how to install a rain barrel. Or, watch the video below.


 

There are several places around Louisville to purchase rain barrels, including:

  • 15Thousand Farmers is a non-profit group in Louisville that supports people in backyard gardening.  They sell rain barrels at the Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road.  There is more information on their rain barrels on their website. Their website also has a video about how to install a rain barrel.
  • Louisville Nature Center sells rain barrels at their facility at 3745 Illinois Avenue (across from the Zoo).  Their website has more information or call 458-1328.
  • MSD’s website lists the following places in Louisville to purchase rain barrels:

Rain Barrel Workshop

We’re going to have a new sustainability theme each week on the Green Triangle Blog, starting this week.  This week’s theme is “What can I do about stormwater?”  We’ll share ideas for how you can make a difference to reduce the amount of stormwater (rain water) that makes it into our combined sewer system in Louisville.  Making sure that more water gets returned to the ground, and groundwater, will help reduce combined sewer overflows into our local creeks.  Combined sewer overflows occur after large rains when there is too much stormwater combining with the sewage from our homes, causing sewage to flow in local waterways.  Visit the MSD website to learn more about combined sewer overflows.

One way to keep stormwater out of combined sewers is by using a rain barrel.  Rain barrels are connected to your downspout and store water for later use in dry periods.  The Jefferson County Extension Service is sponsoring a rain barrel workshop on October 16, in which participants will learn how to build a rain barrel.  For $50 participants will complete one rain barrel to take home, and will have the knowledge to build more in the future.  Register for the workshop here by October 7, or call Sarah Stolz at 502-569-2344.  See below for more information.

Rain Barrel Workshop

Enter to Win a Rain Barrel

rain barrelDuring the month of November, if you create a new profile and fill out the sustainability survey on the Green Triangle website, update your survey, or post on the forum, you will be entered into a drawing to win a rain barrel.  This rain barrel was donated by Coca-Cola and comes with a kit to easily install it on a gutter on your home.  Visit the Green Triangle website today to help quantify the steps our community is taking to improve sustainability.  Make a new profile, update your survey, or post on the forum to be entered to win.  The Green Triangle survey asks you questions about what you are doing to be more green, and we track all the steps the 9th District is taking to see what a great difference we are making.  For instance, as of early October, 9th District residents reported that they walk or bike a total of 413 miles a week instead of driving.  This saves 997 gallons of gas per year, which saves the release of 17,584 pounds of Carbon Dioxide per year.

eyedia is Installing a Rain Garden

rain garden

Preparing the site for the new rain garden

By Martha Neal Cooke, eyedia

Many of our customers want to think we are building a swimming pool for their enjoyment; some want to think it is a complete spa.  It’s a RAIN GARDEN.  We are delighted to be creating a Rain Garden with assistance from MSD, plantings from Margaret Shea at Dropseed Nursery and unrelenting encouragement and assistance from David Wicks and the folks at Kentucky Waterways Alliance, along with Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh.  Lots of bad dirt was replaced by good dirt from EarthFirst on Monday the 10th and will be followed by plantings toward the end of the week.  We have a 600 gallon rain barrel coming to catch roof rain from ourrain garden plants main building. We encourage neighbors and friends to come look, ask questions and spend as much time as they would like to spend, hoping that others will join us in doing a small part to help clean up the Beargrass. Do stop and take a look, have a cup of Linda’s favorite mint/lemonade/tea and an animal cracker, and of course, we would love for you to shop at eyedia.

eyedia is located in the 9th District at 1631 Mellwood Avenue.  They ordered too much dirt for the rain garden and are selling the extra for  $35.00 per truck load – you supply the labor.  Call 540-4940 for more information.

Read David Wicks’s blog post about eyedia’s new rain garden and how it will help improve water quality in Beargrass Creek.

Sustainability Tip – Saving Water in Your Garden

If you have a garden, try the following tips this summer to use less water and use water wisely.  This will conserve water and save money on your water bill.

  • Use a rain barrel.  Rain barrels attach to your home’s downspouts to catch rain water for later use.  You can purchase rain barrels at several locations in Louisville, including through 15,000 Farmers and the Louisville Nature Center.
  • Use a soaker hose.  Soaker hoses water more effectively and can reduce disease in plants, which can worsen when water stands on leaves. Rain Barrel
  • Water when it is coolest outside – this will slow evaporation.
  • Mulch your plants to help the soil retain water.
  • Don’t overwater.   If it has rained recently, or you have watered recently, consider waiting.
  • Use household “greywater” in the garden.  If you have a dehumidifier, empty it in your garden instead of pouring the water down the drain.  Put a bucket in the shower to catch water for the garden.
  • Outside of vegetable gardening: If you are looking for a way to cut down on the amount of grass in your yard, use native plants, which are suited for our climate and require less watering.  Learn more.

This sustainability tip originally appeared in the Green Triangle eNews.  Read the full edition and sign up to receive it every two weeks.

 

Payne Street Rain Barrel Pilot Project Update

Rain BarrelOn March 31, the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD)and volunteers installed 63 rain barrels on Payne Street and a few surrounding blocks.  This was part of the Payne Street Rain Barrel Study & Downspout Disconnection Pilot Program.  The project will work to improve water quality and eliminate combined sewer overflows into Beargrass Creek, while quantifying the amount of water that rain barrels can keep out of the combined sewer system.  If you live in the project’s target area, it is not too late to participate and get free rain barrels installed.

The Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) is teaming up with the 9th District Green Triangle, 15Thousand Farmers and Sustainable Clifton to educate the public on the benefits of rain barrels and downspout disconnection, as well as improve the water quality in our community. 

The project’s target area is Payne Street from Charlton to S. Bellaire, with some addresses on Quarry and Angora Court included. See a map of the project areaResidents in this area can still receive free rain barrels that will be installed by volunteers.  If you are interested, please contact Paula Glasford at glasford@msdlouky.org and send in your agreement form by April 17 to have rain barrels installed on the next volunteer day.

March 22 is World Water Day

World Water Day 2012March 22 is World Water Day.  This year’s theme is water and food security.  Food security means that people have consistent access to food that provides for a healthy and active life.   This theme draws attention to how much water is needed for food production, and that hunger and water conservation issues go hand in hand.  Learn more.  In addition to learning more about this theme, in honor of World Water Day, consider these ways you can save water and help care for waterways:

  • Check sinks and toilets for leaks.  To test your toilet for leaks, put a few drops of food color in the tank.  If color seeps into your toilet bowl, you have a leak.  Find tips for fixing leaks.
  • Reduce your use of water: don’t run the tap while brushing your teeth, don’t rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, purchase low flow showerheads and faucet aerators, and products with the EPA “WaterSense” logo.
  • Use natural cleaning products and keep pollutants from going down the drain.  Go to kyGreentv to learn how to make natural cleaning products, including a baking soda and vinegar solution for cleaning your toilet.
  • Get a rain barrel, which will help keep water out of the sewer system, and saves rain water so you can use it instead of city water for later gardening needs.  15,000Farmers and Louisville Nature Center are two of several groups in town that sell rain barrels.
  • To help reduce sanitary sewer overflows into local waterways, like Beargrass Creek, don’t run your dishwasher or washing machine during a rain event.  Learn more.
  • Look for more water-related sustainability tips on the Green Triangle Green Tips Calendar.

This appeared in the Green Triangle eNewsSign up to receive it every two weeks.

Payne Street Rain Barrel Pilot Project

Some Clifton residents will soon have the opportunity to receive rain barrels and have them installed at no cost to them, as participants in the Payne Street Rain Barrel Study & Downspout Disconnection Pilot Program. The project will work to improve water quality and eliminate combined sewer overflows into Beargrass Creek.   The Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) is teaming up with the 9th District Green Triangle, 15Thousand Farmers and Sustainable Clifton to educate the public on the benefits of rain barrels and downspout disconnection, as well as improve the water quality in our community. 

The project’s target area is Payne Street from Charlton to S. Bellaire, with some addresses on Quarry and Angora Court included. See a map of the project area. Through the project, residents of Payne Street and a few surrounding blocks will be approached to receive rain barrels for free or through reimbursement from MSD.  The work to install the rain barrels and complete the downspout disconnection will be performed by volunteer groups and will be at no cost to residents.

Participation in this program is critical to understanding the real benefits of rain barrels and eliminating the overflow in Beargrass Creek.  MSD Representatives will explain the program fundamentals and provide rain barrel installation & downspout disconnection demonstrations on February 21 2012, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Clifton Center Reception Hall, 2117 Payne Street.  If you live in the target area, drop in during this time to learn more about participation in the program.  If you have questions about this project, please contact Wes Sydnor with MSD at 502-540-6274.  If you live in the project area, are unable to attend the meeting on the 21st and would like to participate in the project, please email Paula Glasford at glasford@msdlouky.org.

Rain Barrels for Organizations

rain barrelD.D. Williamson is an Evergreen Sponsor of the Green Triangle, and as a part of their support, they have offered a donation of 55-gallon drums to be converted into rain barrels.  The Green Triangle is reaching out to local organizations that construct and distribute rain barrels to see if there is a need for these barrels.  If your organization is interested in partnering with the Green Triangle to receive some of D.D. Williamson’s barrels, please contact Katie Holmes