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Stormwater

Fall 2017

Build your own rain garden

Learn how to design, install and maintain your rain garden with the free Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington (PDF).

You can find out more rain garden ideas and details from WSU Extension. If you have more questions, please contact your County Extension rain garden expert.

Be sure to check out where and where not to build your garden. Not every place is suitable.

 

Visit WSU Extension’s rain garden website.

Fall 2017

Shifting waters

On the south end of Puget Sound, where I lived for a number of years, water surrounds Olympia: Black Lake, Budd Bay, Capitol Lake, inlets, rivers, and creeks. It’s part of the picturesque scenery that I enjoyed daily, until I saw a half-submerged SUV at an intersection. The storms of 2007 flooded some streets, not to mention covering I-5 just south in Centralia. Water had become an unexpected hazard.

We can expect even more heavy storms and major floods, especially in the Midwest and Northeast, as the climate changes. Floods that were once seen every 20 years are projected to happen as much as … » More …

Fall 2017

Streaming solutions

High in the Cascade and Olympic Mountain snowfields, pristine rivulets trickle into brooks that descend through forest, farmland, and town. Streams merge into rivers and sweep through cities until finally breaking into Puget Sound and the marine waters of the Pacific.

There, in the southern arm of the Salish Sea, the waters mingle in a fertile estuary teeming with biodiversity.

“Looking out at the waters of Puget Sound, you see the sunset, the beautiful mountains, and people think, ‘Everything is good, we’ve got the orca.’ But we have invisible problems,” says Chrys Bertolotto, natural resource programs manager at the Washington State University Snohomish County … » More …

Summer 2012

Video: Pervious concrete for stormwater management

Liv Haselbach, associate professor with Washington State University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, researches concrete surfaces that can absorb water, rather than allowing water to run off and cause pollution, flooding, or other problems.

Haselbach says, “WSU has been installing various sections of pervious concrete and porous asphalt on the Pullman campus to see how they might help with stormwater management on campus and prevent icing conditions in the winter. Researchers in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department are monitoring various aspects of the placements, and are also testing the materials in their laboratories to determine other environmental benefits, including pollution reduction, and to … » More …

Summer 2012

Not quite right as rainwater

Jen McIntyre is something of a rainwater connoisseur, but you wouldn’t want to drink from her collection. Her preferred source is a drainpipe that runs from State Route 520 to a parking lot in Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood.

Tens of thousands of cars and scores of buses pass by every day, dropping bits of tire rubber, brake dust, exhaust, and the occasional cigarette butt. In winter, passing showers might rinse off the road surface every few days or hours. In summer, a month might go by between rains, giving McIntyre a particularly potent stormwater cocktail, like the one she harvested last August.

Freshly bottled, it’s brown … » More …

Winter 2009

Stormwater central

There’s nothing mundane about the new parking lot at the WSU research and extension center in Puyallup. It is a state-of-the-art polluted water collection system. The 70-some parking spots are specially designed to drain the water from each space into separate collection cells.

The project, which broke ground last summer, is an early step in the station’s efforts to become a leader in Low Impact Development techniques, providing guidance for the rapidly developing community along the Puyallup River Valley. In this case, the station will look at how to capture and clean stormwater runoff so that it doesn’t contaminate waterways, damaging … » More …