‘Rain Gardens’ Treating Storm Run-off at Cotuit Town Dock

Rain Bucket

COURTESY OF THREE BAYS PRESERVATION: Cape Cod Academy students help to install the “rain gardens” on the north side of the parking lot at Cotuit Town Dock in May.

COTUIT – Visitors to the Cotuit Town Dock may have noticed something new this summer.

Three Bays Preservation and the Barnstable Department of Public Works installed two “rain garden” bio-retention beds on the north side of the parking lot just feet away from Cotuit Bay as part of a green infrastructure pilot program.

The “rain gardens” are being used as an alternative to traditional storm drainage sewering.

Three Bays Executive Director Lindsey Counsel, a water resources consultant Scott Horsley and four Cape Cod Academy students spent several days in May installing the 50-foot long by 3-feet wide beds with gravel, soil, peat moss and eight species of indigenous, salt-tolerant plants and a subsurface drip irrigation system.

The storm run-off goes into the beds and the plants remove a significant amount of the nitrogen, pathogens, oils and other pollutants before the treated stormwater heads to the bay through the groundwater system.

The bio-retention project also features a solar powered water pump which recycles water back to the plants for additional processing and treatment using the irrigation system.

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