Bioswales Make our Neighborhoods a Healthier Place
by OLWC Volunteer Coordinator Patrick Blanchard
as published int the September 2017 Water Conservation Newsletter
Have you ever seen those curbside installations that seem to divert storm water into a planter bed before it flows into a city pipe? I’m sure you probably have. These, and a host of other designs are referred to as bioswales, storm water retention facilities, green streets, storm water basins, or a green ditch (my term). No matter what you decide to call it, or how big the infrastructure is, it serves an ecologically important role in city landscapes as more people inhabit, drive, and unintentionally pollute our city streets.
Since we all live in a world where gravity (F = Gm1m2/r2) permeates our daily lives, these storm water facilities help mitigate some of the unintended pollution we create. By design, particular hosts of stream-side native plants have the ability to effectively filter a lot of these contaminants, before they can enter back into the city sewer system or percolate back into the groundwater.