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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

When it rains and pours--where does it go?

    Last week we again read in the local newspaper about the efforts to control the storm runoff from commercial parking lots.  About 70% of storm runoff projects on on commercial lots but the County has limited means to force the commercial property owners to develop new more effective means to control the runoff.    The new rules for commercial development of parking areas is more comprehensive and expensive.  Below shows what is in place in many of our older parking areas to control storm water runoff.  A storm grate and a pipe to channel the water so that it creates a great deal of soil erosion. 

And creates deep channels like this below the parking lots.

Below shows what happens as the soil carried by the storm water clogs our drains that flow into our lakes.

   Contrast this with the new requirements to control runoff.  An example of this is next to the CVS in Wilde Lake with a rain garden and permeable pavers.

You see the same thing in the parking lot at the Whole Foods store in Town Center.

    Last week I had a chance to take a group on a tour with John McCoy from the Columbia Association to look at their efforts to control the runoff from residents and areas they manage.

Below is a rain garden they installed near the Hopewell pool.

And another one near Lake Elkhorn

The rain gardens are only one part of their effort to slow the flow of storm water into our lakes.  Below shows how the use of rocks and trees are used to slow the flow and allow more of the water to soak into the ground.

We next saw some of the efforts that residents are using to control the runoff from their properties. Below is are a few of the rain gardens put in by CA.

Additionally the homeowner has put some rocks in an area where storm water runs off to slow the flow.

    Retaining walls like those below can also be a nice landscaping feature to prevent runoff.

   Application for Columbia Association rain garden.

P.S. 1
    From the Howard County Watershed Academy program:

"Howard County's Watershed Stewards Academy is holding a series of informational sessions to highlight its Master Watershed Steward program.
The Challenge:

WSA is looking for innovative problem-solvers, interested in serving the community by preserving and improving water quality at the local level.
The Program:

WSA is an affiliate of the University of Maryland Extension in Howard County. It is a training program that empowers residents to improve the water quality of local streams and rivers. Through a series of classes and community-based activities, you can learn how to spearhead individual and community efforts aimed at reducing the harmful effects of polluted storm water runoff into local streams, rivers, and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.

Training will commence on at 6:30 PM on Sept 6, 2016 and we require your attendance at one of the following information sessions for enrollment.

Information sessions:

• Wednesday, 7 PM, May 18 Savage Branch Library

• Tuesday, 7 PM, June 14 Glenwood Branch Library

• Wednesday, 7 PM, June 29 Miller Branch Library

• Tentative - 7 PM, July 19 East Columbia Library

For more information contact Terry R. Matthews at (410) 313-2711 or "


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