Rain gardens touted as pollution removers

Jan 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: Start of dwarf planet mission delayed after small mix-up

Related Stories

Simple soil mixture reverses toxic stormwater effects

Jan 20, 2015

A simple column of common soil can reverse the toxic effects of urban runoff that otherwise quickly kills young coho salmon and their insect prey, according to new research by Washington State University, NOAA Fisheries and ...

Residents willing to pay for water improvements

Oct 08, 2013

Managing storm-water runoff in urban settings is critical to keep basements dry, streets clear and passable, and streams and rivers healthy, but how much are homeowners willing to pay for it?

Recommended for you

The riddle of galactic thin–thick disk solved

Apr 24, 2015

A long-standing puzzle regarding the nature of disk galaxies has finally been solved by a team of astronomers led by Ivan Minchev from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), using state-of-the-art ...

Giant cosmic tsunami wakes up comatose galaxies

Apr 24, 2015

Galaxies are often found in clusters, with many 'red and dead' neighbours that stopped forming stars in the distant past. Now an international team of astronomers, led by Andra Stroe of Leiden Observatory ...

User comments : 0

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.