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Mt. Airy Rain Catchers – Rain Barrels and Gardens in a Suburban Watershed

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Stormwater runoff from urban and suburban areas can damage the environmental health of receiving streams from increased flow rates during rain events, reduced base flow, and increased loading of pollutants associated with the runoff. Low-impact or green infrastructure techniques that are decentralized or dispersed throughout the watershed can mitigate these impacts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Sustainable Environments Branch (EPA) developed a field research project to measure the effects of green practices on stream hydrology and quality on a watershed scale.

The suburban watershed selected for this study includes both single-family residential land use and a forested park. The hydrology and water quality of Shepherd Creek have been monitored by EPA and some reaches were found to be affected by urbanization. The use of dispersed Best Management Practices (BMPs) that infiltrate or detain runoff were planned and implemented for this area, with continued monitoring during and after the implementation to measure the effects on Shepherd Creek.

In 2007, Tetra Tech, as contractor to EPA, implemented a reverse auction to solicit participation by area residents and then installed 50 rain gardens and 100 rain barrels on the selected residential sites. This presentation summarizes the methods and results of both the site selection and construction activities to date.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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