Lancaster City rainforests, monthly maintenance, work well [Lancaster Watchdog]

On August 22, Anita Darpino sent an e-mail to the guard.

“This may not be the most important issue of the day, but it is something on my mind.”

What Lancaster Township residents wrote about him – Lancaster’s rainforests – was not inspired by Darpino’s message, but was tied to a difficult issue.

She reminded that the rainforests were overgrown with weeds.

I have seen some who seem to care, but many do not see it and it is sad. It looks slow. And our city is a beautiful city to see.

Darpino wanted to know what rainfed gardens were and if there were any maintenance plans. In particular, Darpino mentioned the rain parks in the rainforests on Mount Anstar, which she uses to enter and leave the city while volunteering at Marshall Street Bookstore at Lancaster Public Library. When she returned home, Lancaster Brewing Co. She passes through rain gardens on nearby plum and walnut streets.

A quick answer to Darpino’s question would allow rainforests to slowly seep into the ground instead of collecting rainwater and dumping it into hurricanes. Heavy rains flooded the sewer system and could send untreated sewage to the Konestoga River, and eventually, to the Gulf of Chesapeake, among other things, to promote the growth of algae, which depletes oxygen in water life.

The city has been working for years to reduce pollution in the Gulf, and is now subject to that agreement with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in 2017.

Rain parks are part of that strategy. The city had been loading them for ten years. Some 140 or more are in the works or are being planned – it is being built on St. Joseph Street near the town’s southwest Lafaye Elementary School. Work on another project on Highland Avenue at the city’s southern entrance is expected to begin in the fall.

(The Wododog also learned something by hearing, although he spent more than a decade on Willow Street Pike near Media Heights as a child and has lived in the city for the past decade – that pike will not be Queen Street as expected – Highland runs several blocks. . who knows ?!)

Do they work?

This Watchdog columnist had long been curious about whether they would work.

“I’m glad to know that the gardens are doing really well,” said Sibil Gotch, associate professor of biology at Franklin and Marshall College. Students at her ecology laboratory studied more than 50 rainfed gardens this winter and spring.

If the IPI infiltrates a rainwater garden, it will do the job – basically, it will be released slowly into the ground – at least 10 inches of water per hour, there are gutters. Your Student The rain gardens you studied with the four students were able to absorb a large amount of water measured by using a 71-inch / intermeter meter per hour.

“I was shocked at how they worked,” Gotch said.

And the Gothic students appreciated studying how the city’s environmental programs were working to solve a problem. They met some of the residents who were curious about what they were doing – also when a lot of education was imaginary during the epidemic.

Kate Austin, the city’s green infrastructure property coordinator, conducts monthly maintenance and inspections on issues such as plant health and erosion and submits annual reports to EPA. The city conducts infiltration attempts every five years and submits those findings to the EPP.

In total, the city’s rainwater management projects, as well as green roofs and perforated roofs (a total of more than 300 projects, counting rainwater gardens), help to transfer more than 40 million gallons per year, according to Austin.

But this is not without cost.

Although many factors are involved in the cost of a rain garden, Austin estimates that it costs about $ 30,000. Funding for the city’s Green Infrastructure Program, which has been assessed by all property owners since 2014, comes from an unprotected amount of land. The city will receive help.

Flawless features, such as roofs, sidewalks, or paved roads, prevent water from entering and entering the ground. He estimates that about 80% of the city’s leaks may be due to unpaved floors.

The city is a leader in green infrastructure efforts, says Austin. The project on Walnut and Plum He won the State Environmental Protection Award in 2014.

Rain parks also have other benefits, says Austin. They provide a safe haven for bees and others.

Maintenance plan

Let’s get back to the weed question about Darpino.

Yes, rainforests can be overgrown with intentionally growing species and weeds, especially in August, the month of high growth, Austin. The city is doing its best to stay on top of repairs, which include garbage disposal, but as a result of the epidemic the public works department has become short-lived.

“From time to time, we get complaints,” says Austin. However, when we install them in neighborhoods, we get positive feedback.

And at least four residents whom Austin knows have accepted gardens. He said the city is working to normalize the adoption program, although staff continue to perform monthly maintenance. (Email to report weeds or other issues, or if you are interested in the adoption program.)

On Wednesday, the guard returned with Darpino to share some of his findings.

“All good news,” she said.

Darpino returned to the rainforest and talked with the guard on Monday and traveled through the city.

“They looked good,” said Darpino, who may have seen them before the investigation began. I’m glad to hear that the city is taking care of them.

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