What is a stormwater planter?

A stormwater planter is a specially designed and landscaped system for collecting rainfall, or runoff, from the street while maintaining downtown amenities like on-street parking and sidewalks.  These planters serve to detain, treat, and infiltrate stormwater into the soil.

How do they work? During a rain storm, water from the street will flow into the planter. Depending on the length and intensity of the storm it can fill the planter until a point where it is bypassed into the stormdrain. The water in the planters then slowly infiltrates into the soil.

This reduces street flooding and improves water quality by capturing pollutants from the road and reducing the amount of water that flows into Stevens Brook and ultimately Lake Champlain untreated.

Small-scale solutions, like these planters, can be used to treat stormwater close to the source. The City of St. Albans Main Street Revitalization project redesigned Main Street to incorporate more public space, amenities like lighting, and stormwater infrastructure.  Many downtown streets are often paved right from the building to the curb with minimal landscaping. From a stormwater perspective, every square foot of green space is essentially removing the same amount of impervious area and reduces the amount of water that needs to be treated.


2018 Free Workshops

April/May - Private Driveways and techniques for drainage
July/August – Enhancing your property with vegetation to benefit water quality, wildlife and pollinators

To sign up for either workshop or find out more information, contact Amanda Holland by email or at 802-524-5958.


What is Stormwater Runoff?
When the amount of rain falling exceeds the land's ability to absorb it, the result is stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff collects when water from rain or snowmelt comes into contact with an impervious or semi-impervious surface like a driveway, rooftop, parking lot, gravel road, or area of compacted soil. These surfaces prevent water from naturally soaking into the ground and as a result, the amount and speed of water travelling across the land’s surface increases.


Why is it a problem? There can be a lot of it and what it carries.
The excess water from rain storms that is not absorbed into the ground instead ends up in our rivers and streams. A short light rain falling on permeable soils might produce little to no runoff, while heavy rain landing on an impervious street or parking lot can produce a substantial amount. The volume of stormwater can be a problem when high amounts of water cause flooding and erosion of stream banks.

As water runs over the landscape it can pick up pollutants such as oil, debris, chemicals, nutrients, sediment and bacteria along the way. This pollutant rich water often flows directly to a lake, stream, river or wetland and in some cases it may be caught by a municipal stormwater system. However, the result is the same, anything that enters the stormwater system is discharged untreated into the waterways we use for swimming, fishing and providing drinking water.


How Can I Help?
Oftentimes, minor practical changes to our daily habits can help keep pollutants out of our stormwater and local waterways. These are called Best Management Practices (BMPs), to take action, find out more about the causes and solutions of stormwater pollution.

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