Rain gardens touted as pollution removers

January 26, 2006

University of Connecticut scientists say properly designed "rain gardens" can trap and retain up to 99 percent of common pollutants in urban storm runoff.

The researchers said the affordable and easy-to-design gardens could potentially improve water quality and promote the conversion of some pollutants into less harmful compounds.

Study authors Michael Dietz and John Clausen say more than half of the rainwater that falls on a typical city block will leave as runoff that includes metals, oils, fertilizers and other particulate matter.

Dietz and Clausen say rain gardens -- shallow depressions in the earth landscaped with hardy shrubs and plants and surrounded by bark mulch -- offer a simple remedy to the problem.

In a two-year study of roof-water runoff, the researchers found rain gardens significantly reduced concentrations of nitrates, ammonias, phosphorous and other pollutants reaching storm drains. In addition, design tweaks permitted bacteria in the soil to convert harmful nitrates into nitrogen gas, preventing them from entering the groundwater.

The research is to be detailed in the Feb. 15 issue of the American Chemical Society journal, Environmental Science and Technology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: With El Nino, be careful what you wish for

Related Stories

With El Nino, be careful what you wish for

November 17, 2015

A few weeks ago in the hills north of Los Angeles, heavy rain set off widespread mudslides that blocked roads and covered highways, burying hundreds of vehicles and bringing much of Los Angeles' infamous traffic to a standstill.

A new analysis and approach to watershed management

September 18, 2015

The first continent-wide, multi-factor analysis of climate and land cover effects on watersheds in the United States, published today, provides a broad new assessment of runoff, flooding and storm water management options ...

Recycling Food Scraps into Gardens

September 7, 2009

Each weekday, food scraps are collected from the Maryland Food Distribution Authority in Jessup, Md., and from small local food service and marketing establishments. Materials that do not contain metal, glass, or plastic ...

Improving soil for better lawns and gardens

November 9, 2010

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in West Virginia are finding ways to improve soil on degraded land so it can be used for sports fields and other uses.

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.