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Rain Gardens Reduce Pollutants

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EUGENE, Ore. — Rain. It’s nothing new in Oregon, but what’s relatively new, a gardening concept to divert rain water off the streets.

When it rains in urban areas, all the water filtrates down the streets picking up contaminants and sediments along the way. The idea with a rain garden is to let the rain water soak into the soil.

A rain garden re-routes water to a sunken garden bed, which is lined with rocks and native plants to provide good filtration. The plants and soil take up nutrients and break down the pollutants, limiting the amount of storm water draining onto city streets and into the stormwater system that goes straight to local streams, the McKenzie River and Willamette River.

“A rain garden is basically recreating the natural hydrology before urbanization, before we put in all these hard surfaces. So it’s letting all that water soak into the ground and recharge our ground water,” said Meghan Murphy, Springfield Public Works Department.

In Springfield, 90 percent of the drinking water comes from ground water, one of the reason the city started its rain garden education campaign in 2010.

About a half a dozen homes in the Springfield area are classified as certified water gardens. The city of Springfield hope that others will take an interest and help improve water quality.

The city will host a free rain garden workshop from 1-4 p.m. at Springfield City Hall in the Library Meeting Room.

More information can be found here.

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