Going Green: City of Fort Wayne's "Catching Rain" Initiative

Published 03/11 2014 01:20PM

Updated 03/11 2014 02:00PM

The City of Fort Wayne and Allen County started a "green infrastructure initiative" about 6 years ago with the goal of helping clean up our river water quality.  Recently, they began a new initiative called "Catching Rain" that will improve water quality by preventing storm-water from entering our combine sewer systems.

WFFT's Tara Petitt has more on how you can get involved by building a rain garden.

"We're really giving people an opportunity to invest themselves in cleaning up our rivers by building rain gardens and by using other green infrastructure."

Rain gardens settle slightly below the level of your lawn.  They can consist of concentrated native plants, stones, tall grass, and decorations.  They accumulate storm-water run-off from places like downspouts, sidewalks, and driveways.

The water sits in the garden and is soaked in by the plants and grass, rather than running off into our storm sewers, rivers, and combines sewer systems.

"Our combine sewer system is that system that collects sanitary sewage and takes it to the treatment plant when it's not raining but when it rains, those same sewers collect storm-water and when the system gets full, that's when those sewers overflow into our rivers."

These sewage overflows contain not only storm-water, but also untreated human and industrial waste, toxic material, and debris.  All of which, go directly into our rivers and streams.

"Anybody can benefit from having a rain garden.  Businesses, property owners, it can help with minor flooding, it can help if you have a wet spot in your yard that accumulates water when it rains, and it can help big pictures with flooding."

If you'd like to go to one of the city's rain garden workshops, they are free and their first of 8 workshops will be held this Thursday at 6pm in Citizens Square.  You can register in advance by calling 260-427-1381.

Any Fort Wayne resident who comes to a "Catching Rain" workshop can qualify for a $250 incentive check that can go towards flowers, mulch, or even power equipment rental.

Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.