Some sections of the globe are beginning to see more heavy rain than they had anticipated.
Floods hit cities across the Northeast earlier this month, including one in New York City that completely flooded subway stations.
It isn’t just the United States; huge flooding wreaked havoc in Germany just last week, and central China had 20 cm of rain in just one hour on Tuesday.
According to the EPA, floods cause stormwater runoff.
Which is rain and snowmelt water that flows over pavement streets, parking lots, and rooftops but does not seep into the earth.
Rainwater gathers up trash, pollutants, and toxic sediments as it washes over their surfaces, contaminating nearby streams and groundwater and putting aquatic ecosystems and residents in danger.
Rainwater runoff is responsible for more than 70% of water pollution.
According to the EPA. Stormwater runoff may be more likely to spread toxins and overrun surrounding bodies of water and water management systems as a result of excessive rain and flooding in various locations of the United States.
Planting a garden—a stormwater garden, that is—could be the answer to reducing some of that stormwater.
Simply, a stormwater garden is made up of native perennial plants that may filter pollution from industrial or agricultural sources, such as wild bergamot, which is endemic to New York State.
Planting deliberate stormwater gardens in regions with heavy stormwater runoff is incredibly successful for reducing local water pollution.
According to Becca Armbruster, the youth education manager for the Groundwater Foundation, an organization that focuses on clean water education and projects.
“Rain gardens can remove some of the contaminants and runoff that we’re discovering.
So that’s the same kind of runoff that farms will produce—phosphorus and nitrogen flowing off,” she explains.
“Rain gardens eliminate this, allowing 30 percent more water to be absorbed by the ground than grass alone.”
If you have a porch or garden space, Armbruster recommends planting rain garden blossoms and branches in 20% of the space, particularly towards the end of a sloping road, to maximize water-absorbing effects.
Because the gardens can absorb water in a day or two, runoff does not sit stagnant, allowing mosquitoes to reproduce and spread disease.
The garden is quite low maintenance after it is planted and does not require much extra attention.
Planting native plants that absorb excess rainwater runoff also helps to establish safe environments for local pollinators, according to the US Forest Service.
Although stormwater runoff appears differently in different environments, Armbruster believes that stormwater gardens should be planted in urban, suburban, and rural areas.
Industrial chemicals may be present in stormwater in urban areas, but agricultural fertilizers may be present in stormwater in rural areas.
“I’m in Ohio, right next to some farms about 25 minutes outside of town, so it depends.
If there are a lot of fertilizers, it will be your primary source of [water pollution]…
“The groundwater gardens can filter out around 80 to 90 percent of those contaminants,” she said.
Stormwater gardens around these groundwater wells are particularly essential since they improve the safety of drinking water for the 34 million people who rely on it.
Green roofs, a sort of rain garden, can decrease the “heat island” effect, resulting in a greener, cleaner neighborhood for everyone.