City offers ways to control stormwater

Holmesburg residents learned how to capture and utilize water runoff.

Source: Wikimedia

Representatives of the city’s Rain Check program last week presented an educational workshop to the public at Holmesburg Recreation Center.

The workshop was sponsored by the Holmesburg Civic Association.

Zach Popkin, a program manager for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, led the discussion. He was joined by fellow program manager Rosemary Howard.

The Horticultural Society produces the Philadelphia Flower Show, which will recognize the 50th anniversary of Woodstock next year with a Flower Power theme. New Horticultural Society members receive Flower Show tickets. Information is available here.

Also on hand was Hailey Stern, a Philadelphia Water Department outreach specialist.

The city funds Rain Check and partners with the Horticultural Society and Sustainable Business Network.

Stern works for the city’s Green City, Clean Waters initiative, a 25-year plan to improve rivers and streams.

More immediate, the Water Department will perform some work later this year along Rowland Avenue and Crispin Street. Planters and tree trenches will capture stormwater, absorbing it into the ground. More information will be released at an upcoming civic association meeting, Mayfair and/or Holmesburg.

As for Rain Check, Popkin said houses of worships and community organizations are welcome to request a presentation.

Popkin outlined various ways residents can control stormwater.

Rain barrels can be connected to downspouts to capture water runoff from the roof of a house. The blue 55-gallon drums are 3 feet tall and 2 feet in diameter. They can sit on bricks or cement blocks up to 18 inches high. The barrels, of course, would need to be emptied after every storm.

Downspout planters can also control roof water runoff, at a price of about $250. Plants are included, and the water can drain to lawns or gardens. The planters come in four sizes, can be placed in front of a house and would need to be watered two or three times a week.

Another option is a metal tank downspout planter, at a cost of $100.

A rain garden can be built outside houses with ample open space. There must be a 10-foot offset from the basement.

A Masonry Project can be installed on a permeable surface, such as a patio or driveway. The project can be costly.

For more information, call 215–988–8767 or email raincheck@pennhort.org ••