Building Community Through Green Stormwater Infrastructure

As record winter rains transition to an unseasonably warm spring, the community’s celebration of a new rain garden and cistern at Carlton Grocery in Georgetown on April 16 highlighted the many pluses of green stormwater infrastructure.

The grocery installed a rain garden as well as two 625-gallon cisterns that will keep 30,000 gallons of polluted runoff out of the Duwamish River. The new features will control stormwater that causes the sewer system to overflow during heavy rains, and the cistern will store rain water that can be used to irrigate a street-beautifying traffic circle maintained by the store.

But that’s not all. Green infrastructure is also supporting economic opportunity for people in south Seattle’s diverse neighborhoods.

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As part of the project, contractor Stone Soup Garden and Urban Systems Design mentored and trained a crew of 13 young adults with the Duwamish Infrastructure Restoration Training (DIRT) Corps, which provides hands-on training for green job seekers.

The DIRT Corps crew learned all about installing cisterns and designing and constructing rain gardens. Their newly acquired experience will enable them to pursue training as RainWise contractors this spring. RainWise is the program that offers rebates for rain gardens and cisterns on private property in several Seattle neighborhoods. (Learn more at www.700milliongallons.org).

The Carlton Grocery green infrastructure project was funded by a King County Green Grant as well as additional WTD funding dedicated to controlling stormwater pollution in the Duwamish.