NepRWA recently completed a grant-funded project to bring awareness of stormwater issues (and solutions) to Westwood. The project included offering free evaluations of runoff from residential and business properties in Westwood, and suggestions for remediation, via green infrastructure projects, such as rain gardens.
Two rain garden demonstration sites were built with the help of some very enthusiastic local volunteers from St. John’s Episcopal Church and Xaverian Brothers High School. In addition, a town-wide mailer was sent to all residents in Westwood.
The garden at St. John’s Episcopal Church is designed to take runoff from the church’s paved driveway and infiltrate it into the ground, preventing the runoff from reaching the street where it could carry pollution into our waterways through storm drains. Over the course of a year, this garden should capture and treat about 14,000 gallons of runoff!
Reducing runoff is a great way to help improve water quality, since runoff is the largest source of pollution for local waterways. Rain gardens use natural processes of soil and plants to capture the runoff and treat it before it causes any water pollution problems.
Rain gardens are built lower than the ground around them to provide space for runoff to filter into the ground and provide moisture for plants. The best plants for a rain garden are perennials native to the area – some we selected for this garden are Black Eyed Susans, New England Asters, Winterberry, and Phlox.
A few days later, on June 4, another rain garden was constructed at Xaverian Brothers High School on Clapboardtree Street. This garden was designed this spring with the help of a senior Environmental Science, and more than 20 students, faculty, and staff showed up (on the first day of summer vacation!) to help build it.
At Xaverian Brothers, the garden was built to capture about 15,000 gallons of runoff from a front parking lot and prevent it from reaching Purgatory Brook which is just behind the school’s property. Both of these rain gardens were completed as part of the current “Soak up the Rain” campaign in Westwood, which is wrapping up this month.
This project was financed partially with Federal Funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (the Department) under a s. 604(b) Water Quality Management Planning Grant. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of EPA or of the Department, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.