Today, more municipalities are adopting a zero run of policy for residential development to reduce the potential for downhill flooding from over development and help to replenish the watershed. We at Cipriano Landscape Design understand the need to help improve the quality of water before it enters the ground and, subsequently, the watershed.
Bill Moore Certified New Jersey Landscape Architect and head of our landscape architecture department and I have created a unique rain garden design which meets municipal storm water containment specifications and provide a natural interaction between soil, vegetation and water in order to reduce pollutants such as gas, oil, bacteria-pet waste, road salt, litter, pesticides and fertilizer before entering the ground.
Development and impervious areas reduce the natural capacity of soil and vegetation to absorb rainfall, and Traditional storm water collection for residential properties incorporates 1,000-gallon concrete seepage pits. All impervious areas such as roof, driveway, patios and swimming pools are added up and then, depending on the municipal standards, are contained with the prescribed seepage pits. Seepage pit are design to reduce flooding and erosion but do little to control the quality of water that re-enters the watershed. Improving the quality of water which enters the watershed has major environmental benefits.
A rain garden is a specially landscaped shallow depression that captures and filters polluted storm-water runoff. It provides storage of the bio-filtered storm water until it permeates the ground and enters the water supply. Plants with deep infiltrating root systems are specifically used in a rain garden design because they must tolerate harsh environments — drought to flooding conditions. The organic or mulch layer protects the soil from eroding and provides an environment for microorganisms which degrade pollutants.
When designing the unique rain garden system currently being installed in a Mahwah, New Jersey landscape design, Bill Moore, NJ Certified Landscape Architect and I worked closely with the municipal engineer and the project engineer to formulate comprehensive approach. Up hill Runoff from the Ramapo Mountain and pool patio runoff will be piped into certified rain gardens and recharge the watershed with clean bio-filtered water. This sustainable solution also cost 10 to 15 percent less than the traditional seepage pit system which makes it attractive to homebuilders, site work companies, landscape contractors and homeowners.
Adopting sustainable solutions for today’s environmental issues will result in a shift in attitude that can pass health and wellness along to future generations. Throughout the Spring months, we will be submitting rain garden designs submitted to Allendale, Englewood, Saddle River, Franklin Lakes and Kinnelon as part of ongoing projects. These designs will be available free of charge to all in Summer 2009.