FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Storm water often can get backed up and create flooded areas on properties. To help drain the water from roofs, driveways, or other areas, people can install raingardens on their properties.
The purpose of raingardens is to help reduce the amount of stormwater that goes into storm drains and reduce water pollution caused by runoff containing ground pollutants.
The city of Fort Wayne has a program through City Utilities where people can get training on where to install raingardens and how to maintain them. Frank Suarez, public information officer for City Utilities, said they often contain native plants and they soak in stormwater that would be sitting in people’s yards. They recommend native plants because of their deep roots, ability to hold water, and are able to tolerate different weather conditions.
“Instead of the water sitting in ponds or puddles, raingardens soaks the stormwater so pollutants don’t get into rivers or creeks,” Suarez said.
Some of the native plants in raingardens include native grasses like sedges and drop seed and wildflowers like purple coneflowers.
He finds it to be a natural way of helping the environment and cleaning up the region’s rivers. This has been something Fort Wayne has been pushing for the last 12 years to help protect the waterways.
Suarez said about 2,000 residents have been trained about raingardens and more than 100 people currently have raingardens in the city. 20 of them are located in public spaces including Science Central.
When choosing where to put a raingarden, City Utilities recommends putting them away from septic tanks, and utility easements and checking it they are allowed in your neighborhood. Also make sure the raingarden is able to receive runoff from downspouts, driveways, patios, or sidewalks.
The size of your raingarden depends on how much stormwater runoff will be going through it. The program recommends measuring the area that will drain into the garden to determine its size of it.
City Utilities has promoted raingardens into school curriculums with some local schools coming to them to help educate students about the benefits of having one and what they do for the environment.
“We have been invited to different cities around the region to speak about our program and educate others about raingardens,” He said. “We have been asked to speak about our program in places like Angola and Huntington.”
To learn more about the city’s raingarden program, log onto www.catchingrainfw.org to learn more about how you can install a raingarden on your property.