Rain Gardens for Resiliency
Total Cost: $150,000
Potential Locations: Huron @ Cushing, Chestnut Street, Webster Avenue
Green infrastructure has never looked so good! Bioswales are engineered gardens with special soil and plants to filter and absorb stormwater. They are a cost-effective, beautiful way to keep our water clean and protect our city from floods.
When rain falls in the city, instead of soaking into the earth, it meets cold, hard concrete and picks up pollutants as it runs straight into the sewers. Stormwater runoff carries trash, bacteria, and pollutants that can overwhelm treatment facilities, contaminate our rivers and streams, and flood our streets.
Bioswales and rain gardens are a surprisingly simple yet effective solution: essentially hardy plants planted in specially engineered layers of soil and stone, typically by roads and parking lots. The microorganisms in the soil digest oils and grease in runoff, and the plants take up phosphorus that can kill life in our rivers, lakes, and oceans. The whole infrastructure together slows down excess stormwater which can otherwise overwhelm our sewer system.
In the face of climate change and more extreme weather, we need to get stormwater under control. There are currently 9 Bioswales throughout Cambridge, and new ones can be added alongside ongoing road improvements or where the city is most prone to flooding. [Note, Bioswales will be sited in non-parking areas.]