Rain gardens help keep water out of basements
EVERETT - When it rains hard at Garrik Hudson-Falcon’s house, the water goes where it’s supposed to: in the ground.
That’s a positive change from where water used to end up: flooding his basement.
Hudson-Falcon is one of a handful of Northwest Neighborhood residents near 14th Street and Lombard Avenue who added rain gardens on their property as part of a city-sponsored program last fall. His garden is a bog garden, which is built differently.
For many years, some homes in the Northwest Neighborhood would get flooded basements during heavy rains. Last year, residents experienced flooding in their basements during a fluke summer rain storm when the nearby storm drains couldn’t take in the water fast enough.
In most of north Everett, the city’s system has sewage and storm water going through the same pipes. As a result, both sewage and storm water went into the basements.
The city spent thousands of dollars reimbursing people for cleanup costs.
Hudson-Falcon’s basement has flooded four times over the past decade from rain, but six months after the rain garden was installed, his basement remains dry.
That includes no storm water after the heavy downpour over Thanksgiving weekend, during which the city’s overflow system sent thousands of sewage and storm water mix into the Snohomish River.
City spokeswoman Kate Reardon could not say the rain gardens directly fixed the flooding problem in the neighborhood. The city’s worked on many projects to help lessen flooding, Reardon said two weeks ago.
The city put in a backflow valve in Hudson-Falcon’s basement, but that did little to stop the flooding, he said.
The city used to advise putting in backflow valves as far back as 1990, according to documents found by a neighbor. That was in response to flooding in the neighborhood during a heavy storm in 1989.
Hudson-Falcon said the city needs more rain gardens.
“I think seven rain gardens isn’t enough to control the problem, but it is good publicity” for their usefulness, Hudson-Falcon said.
Rain gardens use a variety of native plants to hold onto rainwater and let the water seep into the ground.
Tom Alvers said he’s lucky his house never had the flooding problems his neighbors experienced.
He looks forward to springtime when the plants in his rain garden bloom.
“When all these plants bloom, it’s going to be something else,” Alvers said last week. “It’s a real cool deal,” Alvers added.
The city hosted a rain garden tour earlier this month to show off the rain gardens. Each house has a sign with information about its rain garden.
By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published March 28, 2012