A sense of mission, a solid non-profit organization, and a small grant can go a long way. A good example is the recently completed Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance’s rainwater harvesting project. The organization received $15,000 in council-allocated WaterWorks funds in 2016 to build this low-impact development feature in Kirkland.
First, they selected the site of the Inglewood Presbyterian Church, which is surrounded by wetlands that form the headwaters of Denny Creek, a salmon-bearing stream that flows into Lake Washington.
John Bailey with the church rolled up his sleeves and spent the next two years designing and building a system to capture runoff from 14,000-square-feet of roof from the church. The runoff is now diverted to cisterns where it can be used to water the community garden and grounds in the summer, or slowly seep into the ground in the winter.
“The benefits are great. The system takes the water from the 1960’s building that was designed to runoff onto the parking lot, then down the drive to the street, then to the storm system,” John said. “I learned this water becomes heated as it flows across the asphalt and down the street gutter. In the fall run offs during the salmon run, the heated water has a negative impact on the salmon. Over half of the 324,000 gallons of rain water we are collecting is no longer being heated up. Go salmon.”
This project is improving local water quality by diverting runoff that previously drained across the parking lot into local storm drains and Denny Creek. The new system will not only keep waterways cool and clean, it will also help conserve water in the summer, and serves as an educational asset and model for the community.
The two 3,000-gallon cisterns were installed with many innovative features, including independent filtered supply, discharge, and overflow protection for each tank, and a total of 20 valves to control flow and distribution. Over 400 hours of volunteer labor went into making the project a success.