- Jodi Eberhardt
When It Rains, It Pollutes
Rain naturally contains pollutants, including phosphorus and mercury. You cannot do
much about this source of the pollution, but you can capture some rainwater and allow it
to be cleansed through natural soil processes to prevent it from running off into the lake,
where it can be detrimental to water quality.
Divert Rainwater Off Roofs and Driveways
Roofs of houses and other buildings, especially larger houses, and driveways comprise
most of the impervious (impermeable) surfaces. Redirect rain from drain spouts,
roof gutters, and driveways onto vegetated areas and away from the lake, steep slopes,
and bluffs. There it can be captured and have time to infiltrate naturally into the soil or be
used later for watering, instead of getting to the lake.
Capture Water in Natural Depressions or Create a Rain Garden
Landscape with rain gardens to hold runoff on the lot and to filter rainwater and
recharge groundwater. Combine rain gardens with grassy swales to replace curb and gutter.
Manage Stormwater when Building or Altering the Landscape
Any new development or alteration of the landscape should have site design and planning
that takes the natural vegetation and drainage patterns into consideration.
• Minimize grading and clearing. Carefully assess the property and its natural
drainage patters before designing the house and its placement on the lot.
• Keep wetlands and as much native vegetation as possible. Wetlands filter out nutrients
and native trees provide shade, filter and soak up water, and are habitat for
birds and wildlife. They require less care and can tolerate a wide range of conditions.
• Conserve the soils that will allow good infiltration of rainwater and place rain gardens
and swales in those locations.
• Slope paved surfaces toward vegetated low areas to allow water to soak in.
• Reduce impervious surfaces. When building, construct smaller houses or building
footprints; build up rather than out. Minimize the amount of driveway, roof area, and sidewalks. Cover worn paths that may be compacted with mulch to absorb water. For patios and walkways, use permeable pavers or interlocking pavers or flat stones set in sand instead of concrete.
Assess Stormwater Management on Your Lot
Take a look at your current landscaping and drainage patterns. Are there locations on your property where significant volumes of stormwater runoff are being generated? If
yes, begin thinking about how you might reduce runoff using the techniques outlined in this Guide. Could you move or remove what is causing the runoff or divert the runnoff away from the lake or create a rain garden to capture an allow the water to soak into the ground rather than pollute the lake?