Large “Rain Garden” to deal with stormwater run-off in Huntington

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – In addition to being beautiful, “rain garden” can be a cost-effective way to help keep communities resilient to what storms can often bring, including flooding.

Marshall University Environmental Specialist Mark Buchanan points to the new pharmacy school being built right off Hal Greer Boulevard in Huntington.

“My part in this, or at least, my interest in this, is the stormwater controls,” Buchanan said. “What we’re doing here is, this is the beginning of a sustainable landscape.”

This rain garden will soon be filled with plants, trees and other helpful vegetation. With all the concrete, steel, paving and construction concerning building projects, the ground has to be prepared for when it rains. If the stormwater isn’t under control, it goes into the city’s drains.

“A lot of times those become overwhelmed, cause flooding and actually some discharge of some sewage and other materials out into the Ohio River,” Buchanan said. “So this makes this landscape much, much more sustainable. When we get that inch of rainfall or more, that water is going to come through these pipes and settle in.”

And that keeps the stormwater out of storm drains. That stormwater we’re talking about is something Sherry Wilkins specializes in. She’s the director of the Huntington Stormwater Utility and she’s eager to see this what this rain garden can do.

“Green infrastructure is the best way to mitigate the harmful impacts of stormwater runoff. Period.” Wilkins said.

“When it’s complete, we’ll have a soil mix in here that conducive to plant growth that’s actually going to help the water percolate down into the groundwater,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan says they expect planting to start next week and the entire project to be wrapped up by mid-August. For more information about the Marshall University Sustainability Department click here.

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