delaware; a homeowner’s guide to stormwater management - partnership for the delaware estuary

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A Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management You can make a diference! Learn what you can do on your  property and in your community to improve the health o your watershed. Prepared by: Oce o Watersheds Philadelphia Wa ter Depar tment Volume 1 • January 2006

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A Homeowner’s Guide toStormwater Management

You can makea diference! 

Learn what you can do on your 

 property and in your community toimprove the health o your watershed.

Prepared by: Oce o Watersheds

Philadelphia Water DepartmentVolume 1 • January 2006

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DisclaimerTe inormation contained in this guide is being oered by the City o Philadelphia (City) through its Water Department (PWD) or the useo residents o the City. Please note that the stormwater managementprojects or Best Management Practices (BMPs) in this guide are voluntary projects recommended strictly or homeowners. Tey arenot designed or proessionals required to comply with the City’s

Stormwater Regulations.I you plan to install any o the ollowing structural projects onyour property in the City, please notiy PWD via its e-mail address([email protected]): Rain Barrels, Rain Gardens, orDry Wells. PWD would like to register your project with the City’sDepartment o Licenses & Inspections (L&I). Also, PWD encouragesyou to take photographs o your project and to send them to PWD viathe above e-mail address

I you experience problems with any water or sewer piping on yourproperty, you should contact a registered plumber.

While every attempt has been made to urnish the latest and mostup-to-date inormation in this guide, updates, revisions, modicationdeletions, and additions may have taken place aer the production anddistribution o this guide.

Te user o this guide is not relieved o their duty to obtain any revisions or updates. PWD is not liable or the use o inormation inthis guide that results in additional costs due to changes that occurredaer the production o this guide.

Tis guide is provided to you on an “AS IS” and “WIH ALL FAULS”

basis. You acknowledge that you assume the entire risk o loss in usingthis guide and the inormation provided herein, including withoutlimitation any loss incurred by any End User. You urther acknowledgethat this guide is complex and may contain some nonconormities,deects and/or errors. PWD does not warrant that this guide will meetyour needs or expectations, or that all nonconormities can or willbe corrected. PWD assumes no risk, liability or responsibility or theaccuracy o this guide.

NO WARRANY: CIY MAKES AND YOU RECEIVE NO WARRANY, WHEHER

EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AND ALL WARRANIES OF MERCHANABILIY AND

FINESS FOR ANY PARICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY EXCLUDED. NO

ORAL OR WRIEN ADVICE OR INFORMAION PROVIDED BY CIY OR

ANY OF IS AGENS OR EMPLOYEES SHALL CREAE A WARRANY OR IN

ANY WAY INCREASE HE SCOPE OF HIS PARAGRAPH, AND YOU ARE NO

ENILED O RELY ON ANY SUCH ADVICE OR INFORMAION.

LIMIAION OF LIABILIY: IN NO EVEN SHALL CIY BE LIABLE FOR ANY

DAMAGES, CLAIM OR LOSS INCURRED BY YOU (INCLUDING, WIHOU

LIMIAION, COMPENSAORY, INCIDENAL, INDIREC, SPECIAL,

CONSEQUENIAL OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES, LOS PROFIS, LOS SALES

OR BUSINESS, EXPENDIURES, INVESMENS OR COMMIMENS IN

CONNECION WIH ANY BUSINESS, LOSS OF ANY GOODWILL, OR DAMAGES

RESULING FROM USE OF HIS GUIDE, IRRESPECIVE OF WHEHER

CIY HAS BEEN INFORMED OF, KNEW OF, OR SHOULD HAVE KNOWN

OF HE LIKELIHOOD OF SUCH DAMAGES). HIS LIMIAION APPLIES

O ALL CAUSES OF ACION IN HE AGGREGAE, INCLUDING WIHOU

LIMIAION, BREACH OF CONRAC, BREACH OF WARRANY, NEGLIGENCE,

SRIC LIABILIY, MISREPRESENAION AND ALL OHER ORS. IF CIY’S

LIMIAION OF LIABILIY SHALL FOR ANY REASON WHASOEVER BE HELD

UNENFORCEABLE OR INAPPLICABLE, YOU AGREE HA CIY’S LIABILIY

SHALL NO EXCEED $100.00

 The Oce o Watersheds wouldlike to thank the ollowing

organizations and partners ortheir assistance and or the use

o their materials in this guide:

Center or WatershedProtection

Fairmount Park Commission

Montgomery County

Conservation District

NAM Planning & Design, LLC

National Oceanic &

Atmospheric Administration(NOAA)

Pennsylvania Department o Environmental Protection (DEP)

Pennsylvania HorticulturalSociety

Philadelphia Department o 

Streets

South River Federation

 TreeVitalize

University o Wisconsin —Extension

Washington State Puget SoundAction Team

Wisconsin Department o 

Natural Resources

Wissahickon Valley WatershedAssociation

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Philadelphia Water Department

he Oce o Watersheds o the Philadelphia WaterDepartment has a vision or Philadelphia—“CleanWater—Green City.” We want to unite the City with

its water environment, creating a green legacy or uturegenerations while incorporating a balance between ecology,economics and equity.

In order to achieve the goal o “Clean Water-Green City,”we must work together with our partners, local residents,homeowner associations and municipalities on managingstormwater in a manner that will restore our watersheds.We can all play a part in taking an active role in convertingour streams, creeks and surrounding green spaces into

healthy systems that local residents, along with native shand wildlie, can use as amenities, sanctuaries and habitats.As a homeowner, your part can be as simple as maintainingyour car properly or building a rain garden on your lawn.Tis guide provides you with the steps and actions you cantake to improve stormwater management on your property or in your community. Tese stormwater managementprojects will not only help protect our invaluable drinkingwater sources, but they will help green the city, restore ourwaterways and improve quality o lie or all residents.

For more inormation, please visit www.PhillyRiverIno.orgor e-mail [email protected].

Introduction

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Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management  

Vehicle Maintenance

B

y maintaining your car properly you can prevent oilleaks, heavy metals and toxic materials rom travelingrom your car onto the street. Rain washes oil and other

hazardous chemicals rom the street into the nearest stormdrain, ultimately draining into the Delaware and SchuylkillRivers, the source o drinking water or many. Just imagine thenumber o cars in our region and the amount o oil that ndsits way into our local waterways! It has been estimated thateach year over 180 million gallons o used oil is disposed o improperly (Alameda CCWP, 1992), and that a single quart o oil can pollute 20,000 gallons o drinking water (NDRC, 1994).Please ollow proper automotive maintenance.

Maintaining your Vehicle• Maintain your car and always recycle used motor oil.

• Check your car or truck or drips and oil leaks regularly andx them promptly. Keep your vehicle tuned to reduce oil use.

• Use ground cloths or drip pans under your vehicle i youhave leaks or i you are doing engine work. Clean up spillsimmediately and properly dispose o clean up materials.

• Collect all used oil in containers with tight-tting lids. Oldplastic jugs are excellent or this purpose.

• Recycle used motor oil. Many auto supply stores, car carecenters, and gas stations will accept used oil. Do not pourliquid waste down foor drains, sinks or storm drains.

• Do not mix waste oil with gasoline, solvents, or other enginefuids. Tis contaminates the oil which may be reused,increases the volume o the waste, and may orm a morehazardous chemical.

• Never dump motor oil, antireeze, transmission fuid or otherengine fuids into road gutters, down the storm drain or catchbasin, onto the ground, or into a ditch.

• Many communities have hazardous waste collection dayswhere used oil can be brought in or proper disposal. Find outabout your program. Recycling just one gallon o used oil cangenerate enough electricity to run the average household oralmost 24 hours.

• ry to use drain mats to cover drains in case o a spill.

• Store cracked batteries in leak proo secondary containers.

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Philadelphia Water Department

W

hen ertilizing lawns and using other commonchemicals, such as pesticides and herbicides,remember you’re not just spraying the lawn. When

it rains, the rain washes the ertilizers, pesticides and herbicidesalong the curb and into storm drains, which ultimately carry runo into the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, our drinkingwater source. In addition to degrading the water quality o ourstreams and rivers, pesticides can kill critters in the stream andertilizers can cause algal blooms, which rob our waterways o oxygen that sh need to survive. I you have to use ertilizers,pesticides, and herbicides, careully read all labels and apply these products sparingly.

Many homeowners are unaware o the actual nutrient needso their lawns. According to surveys conducted by the Centeror Watershed Protection, over 0% o lawn owners ertilizetheir lawns, yet only 10 to 20% o lawn owners take the troubleto perorm soil tests to determine whether ertilization is evenneeded (CWP, 1999). Organic lawn care practices (no chemical 

 pesticides and ertilizers) can also be a wise environmental choiceand will save you money. Conduct a soil test on your lawn andollow the below practices to reduce the need to ertilize on yourlawn and garden.

Caring or your Lawn and Garden• Use ertilizers sparingly. Lawns and many plants do not need

as much ertilizer or need it as oen as you might think. estyour soil to be sure!

• Consider using organic ertilizers; they release nutrients moreslowly.

• Never ertilize beore a rain storm (the pollutants are picked

up by stormwater during rain events).

• Keep ertilizer o o paved suraces—o o sidewalks,driveways, etc. I granular ertilizer gets onto paved suraces,collect it or later use or sweep it onto the lawn.

• Use commercially available compost or make your own usinggarden waste. Mixing compost with your soil means yourplants will need less chemical ertilizer and puts your waste togood use. Another alternative is to use commercial compost,called Earthmate, which is available or ree through PWD.

Call 21-68-406 or visit the website to learn more aboutEarthmate: www.phila.gov/water/brc/brchow2get.html

• Let your grass clippings lay! Don’t bag the grass. Use amulching lawn mower to cut one-third o the blade lengtheach week and naturally ertilize your lawn in the process.

Lawn & Garden Care

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Philadelphia Water Department

Pet Waste

W

hen animal waste is le on the ground, rainwater ormelting snow washes the pet waste into our stormdrains or directly into our local creeks. Te disease-

causing bacteria ound in pet waste eventually fows rom ourlocal waterways into the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, ourdrinking water source. In addition to contaminating waterwayswith disease-carrying bacteria, animal waste acts like a ertilizerin the water, just as it does on land. Tis promotes excessiveaquatic plant growth that can choke waterways and promotealgae blooms, robbing the water o vital oxygen.

Scooping Up the Poop• Bag it! When going or dog walks, take a shopping bag orsandwich bag. When doggy makes a deposit, turn the baggieinside out over your hand and use it as a glove to pick up thewaste.

• Flush the pet waste down the toilet because then it is treatedat a sewage treatment plant.

• I fushing down the toilet is not a viable option, put the petwaste in the trash, but never put waste into storm drains.

• Encourage your neighbors to provide pet waste stations orcollection and disposal o waste. Check to see i the parks inyour neighborhood have them.

• Dig a small trench in your yard where your pets tend todeecate and toss the waste in the trench, cover with a layer o leaves, grass clippings, and dirt.

• Dispose waste in disposal units called Doggy Loos where they are installed into the ground. Decomposition occurs withinthe unit.

• At the park, set up a pooch patch which has a polesurrounded by a light scattering o sand around it. Dogowners can introduce their dog to the pole upon entry to thepark. Dogs will then return to the patch to deecate and thenyou can place the pet waste in special bins or disposal.

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Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management  

Vehicle Washing

C

ar washing is a common routine or residents and apopular way or organizations, such as scout troops,schools, and sports teams to raise unds. However,

most o the time, cars are washed in driveways and parkinglots which allow wash water (dirty water) to nds its way to thenearest storm drain, ultimately draining into our drinking watersources, the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. Te wash wateroen contains pollutants, such as oils and grease, phosphates(rom the soap), and heavy metals—all o which are unhealthy or people and sh.

Washing Your Car Properly• Te best action is to take your vehicle to a commercial carwash, especially i you plan to clean the engine or the bottomo the car. Most car washes reuse water several times beoresending it or treatment at a sewage treatment plant.

I you still want to wash your car at home...• Wash your car on gravel, grass or another permeable surace,

so the ground can lter the water naturally.

• Use soap sparingly. ry to use non-phosphate detergents.Phosphates are nutrients that can cause problems or nearby waterways.

• Use a hose that is high pressure, low volume. Use a hose witha nozzle that automatically turns o when le unattended orone that has a pistol grip or trigger nozzle to save water. Washone section o the car at a time and rinse it quickly.

• When you’re done, empty your bucket o soapy water downthe sink, not the street.

• Block o the storm drain during charity car wash events or

use an insert with a vacuum pump to catch wash water andempty it into the sink, not the street.

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Philadelphia Water Department

rees are not only a beautiul addition to the landscape,but they also provide invaluable benets to cities. Tey reduce heat by cooling and shading homes during the

hot summer months, decreasing the amount o energy requiredto cool a home and its related electric bills. Mature trees canactually cut summer cooling costs by 40% and tree-lined blockscan even decrease local temperatures. rees naturally clean theair o pollutants and create a neighborhood noise buer. reesalso improve stormwater management, reducing the amounto polluted stormwater that normally would go directly intostorm drains. ree roots also allow rainwater to lter back into the soil, recharging the oen thirsty water table. A 200

study by the University o Pennsylvania ound that trees canincrease property values. Planting a tree within 0 eet o ahouse can increase its sale price by 10 to 1%. Some studieseven indicate that the mere presence o trees can create strongerneighborhood ties and reduce crime.

Planting a TreeBeore getting started, you may be interested in participatingin the reeVitalize rebate program where you may be eligibleto receive up to a $2 rebate on the purchase o a tree. Whether

you are planting a tree in your yard or hiring a contractor toplant a street tree, you may qualiy. For more inormation, visitwww.treevitalize.net and www.pennsylvaniahorticulturalsociety.org/phlgreen/tree-pledge.html.

Also, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s ree endersProgram oers a basic training course designed to teach generaltree-care skills to organized community groups and individualsin Philadelphia. I you are interested in the course or a ree copy o the ree enders Handbook or Mini-Guide to ree Planting,  visit www.pennsylvaniahorticulturalsociety.org/phlgreen/

treetenders.

1. Now, i you are ready to get started with your tree planting,select a site appropriate or your tree.

2. Dig the hole at least 1 to 2 times the width o the root ball(container) to be installed, and no deeper than the height o the root ball so that the root fare (the top o the root mass)is fush with the existing ground. Te planting pit should bedug so the walls o the pit are angled like a bowl or slopingoutward in heavy soils.

3. Break up the walls o the pit aer digging, so that ne rootscan penetrate the soil. Te soil that you dig out o the holeis what you will use to backll around the root ball. Soilamendments are not recommended when planting a tree;thereore, no compost, moss, or shredded pine bark should beadded to the backll.

 Tree Planting

I you have any tree plantingquestions and need to ask an

expert, go to www.pennsylvaniahorticulturalsociety.org/garden/ask_gardener

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Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management  

4. Remove all debris rom the pit and gently tightly pack theloose soil in the bottom o the pit by hand.

. Cut and remove the rope and burlap rom around the trunk and check or root fare. Remove all nails. Drop the burlapdown to the bottom o the hole.

6. Do not handle the plant by the branches, leaves or stem. Placethe plant straight in the center o the planting pit, carryingthe plant by the root ball. Never carry a plant by the trunk orbranches.

7. Aer the tree is in the pit, careully cut and remove the topthird o the wire basket and as much burlap as possible using

the least amount o disturbance.8. Backll planting pit with existing soil and pack it in there

tightly to ll all voids and air pockets. Do not over compactsoil. Make sure plant remains straight during backlling/packing procedure.

9. Te top o the root mass (root fare) o the tree should befush with the nal grade. Do not cover stem with soil. I your tree has soil over the trunk fare (where the trunk curesoutward into the root system), it is essential to plant the trunk 

fare above soil. Remove the soil rom the root ball i the fareis buried by it.

10. Water plant thoroughly and slowly, immediately aerplanting to saturate backll. For the rst year aer planting,water the tree with 1 gallons per week. Use your indexnger to check the soil moisture under the mulch. I thesoil is cool to the touch, do not water. I it is warm and dry,then water. A layer o mulch (i.e. shredded bark, compost)should be placed around the tree, at a depth between 3 to 4inches and with a radius o approximately 2 to 4 inches rom

the tree stem. Do not rest the mulch directly against thetree stem. Te mulch makes it easier to water the tree andreduces weed competition.

11. Remove all tags, labels, strings and wire orm the plantmaterial.

Many homeowners ask how a newly planted tree can aect thesewer, water lines, sidewalk and/or building’s oundation? I youchoose the correct tree, site, and planting conditions, your treeshouldn’t interere with your sewer, waterline, etc. Most tree

roots grow in the soil’s top 12 inches and spread well beyond thetree’s canopy in search o water and nutrients. Tey don’t “attack”underground mains, unless these are already damaged, providingentrances or developing roots. An adequate and generous treepit, or long, narrow continuous “tree lawn” will provide the bestconditions or establishing and maintaining a “well behaved”tree with the environment needed to survive in the city.

 Tree Planting

You can also volunteer to

plant trees elsewhere in

the city—along creeks andstreams in Fairmount Park 

and at local schools. The

more trees in Philadelphia,

the healthier we will be!

Contact Fairmount Park,

Greater Philadelphia Cares

and UC Green to learn how

you can volunteer to plant

trees.

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0 Philadelphia Water Department

Recommended Street Tree List or Philadelphia

Small Trees—Under 30 eet

 Acer buergeranum—rident Maple

 Acer campestre—Hedge Maple

 Acer ginnala—Amur Maple

 Acer tataricum—artarian Maple

Crataegus crus-galli ‘Inermis’ —Tornless Hawthorn, tree orm

Crataegus laevigata ‘Superba’ —Crimson Cloud Hawthorn treeorm

Crataegus phaenopyrum—Washington Hawthorn, tree orm

Crataegus viridis—Winter KingHawthorne

Prunus triloba—Flowering Plum

 Malus (selected varieties)—Crabapple

Syringa reticulata—Japanese reeLilac

Medium Trees 30– 46 eet

 Aesculus x carnea ‘Briotii’—Ruby Red Horsechestnut

Cercidiphyllum japonica—Katsuratree

Cladrastis lutea—Yellowwood

Crataegus lavallei—LavalleHawthorn

Koelreuteria paniculata—Golden

Rain ree

 Malus (selected varieties)—Crabapple

Ostrya virginiana—Hop Hornbeam

Phellodendron amurense—AmurCork ree

Prunus x yedoensis—YoshinoCherry 

Ulmus parviolia—Chinese Elm

Quercus acutissima—Sawtooth Oak 

Large Trees Over 47 eet

 Acer rubrum (selected cultivars)—Red Maple

Celtis occidentalis—Hackberry 

Corylus colurna—urkish Filbert

Fraxinus pennsylvanica ‘Patmore’—Patmore Green Ash

Gleditsia triacanthos (selected cultivars)—Honey Locust, a) Halka,b) Moraine, c) Shademaster

Ginkgo biloba (male selectionsonly)—Ginkgo

Liquidambar styraciua—Sweetgum

Quercus rubra—Red Oak 

Quercus macrocarpa—Bur Oak 

Quercus palustris—Pin Oak 

Sophora japonica—Japanese Pagodaree

ilia cordata—Little Lea Linden

Zelkova serrata (selected cultivars)—Japanese Zelkova—a) Green Vase,b) Village Green

Columnar Trees or NarrowStreets

 Acer rubrum ‘Armstrong’—Armstrong Columnar Red Maple

Carpinus betulus astigiata—

Pyramidal European HornbeamGinkgo biloba ‘Princeton Sentry’—Princeton Sentry Ginkgo GraedMale Variety 

Prunus sargentii ‘Columnaris’—Columnar Sargent Cherry 

Quercus robur ‘Rose Hill’—RoseHill English Oak 

Te Fairmount Park Commission recommends the below list o 

approved trees which will thrive in an urban setting, have a good track record, and won’t interere with overhead wires in Philadelphia.

 Tree Planting

Street TreesI you do not have a yard,but you would like to have atree in ront o your property

—on your sidewalk—you haveseveral options in Philadelphia.

You can get a tree or ree

and installed at no cost byFairmount Park , however, this

may involve being placed on awaiting list

You or a group rom yourneighborhood can sign up

or a Tree Tenders program through the Pennsylvania

Horticultural Society, whereyou can get trained to careor your tree, learn how to

organize a tree plantingproject and receive ree tree

care tools in exchange or yourparticipation.

Lastly, you can hire a

contractor approved by

Fairmount Park to plant atree in ront o your house.

However, the contractor youhire must apply or a Street TreePermit rom Fairmount Park 

beore any work can be done. The private planting could costyou up to $500 (not including

the price o the tree).

 Talk to your neighbors and fndout i there is a neighborhood

organization or Tree Tendersgroup organizing a street tree

planting project. Some localgroups that do tree plantings,include The South o South

Neighborhood Organization,UC Green and Citizens Alliance.

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Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management  

Backyard Stream

E

stablish a streamside (riparian) buer—a vegetatedarea along the edge o the stream that protects it rompollution and erosion. Tis buer zone absorbs pollutants

and nutrients that would otherwise end up running directly intothe stream. Plant material slows runo and lters out pollutantsand sediments. Well-planted streamside buers are also a greatlow-cost way to control erosion. While plants slow runo, lterpollutants, and help control erosion, trees cast shade on thestream, cooling the water, reducing algae growth and improvingsh habitat. A buer with trees and shrubs also becomes a hometo birds, butterfies and other creatures. rees and plants thatgrow in the buer play a critical role in keeping streams healthy.

Caring or Your Stream• Begin with a “no mow” or “no graze” zone along your stream

banks. Make your buer as wide as possible.

• Plant trees and shrubs in your buer zone. Tey providemany long-lasting benets and can be quite inexpensive toestablish and maintain.

• Using shrubs will give your buer a quick start; many reachull size in just a ew years.

• Set your mower blades at least three inches high. aller grassslows runo, resists drought and needs less ertilizer

• Use hay bales or a special silt ence to prevent soil romwashing o your site and into the stream while establishingyour stream buer.

• Cover piles o soil with tarps to protect them rom rain.

• Use good arm practices by not cultivating the soil andplanting winter cover crops to conserve soil.

• Contact your local DEP oce or county conservation districti you see soil runo in the stream rom a nearby constructionsite.

• Limit your overall use o pesticides and herbicides, and useextreme caution when using them near streams.

• Keep grazing and other arm animals out o and away romthe stream. Contact your county conservation district or theU.S. Fish and Wildlie Service to nd out about arm encingprograms.

• Compost yard waste. Don’t bag lawn trimmings or throwthem into the stream; leave them in place or eectiverecycling o nutrients.

• Store rewood, trash and other materials well away romstreams.

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Philadelphia Water Department

A

s snow piles up in the winter, we oentimes turn tosalt to melt snow and ice. Salt, however, causes adverseenvironmental impacts, especially on our streams and

rivers, our drinking water source in Philadelphia. Excess saltcan saturate and destroy a soil’s natural structure and result inmore erosion to our waterways. High concentrations o saltcan damage and kill vegetation. Salt poses the greatest dangerto resh water ecosystems and sh. Studies in New York haveshown that as salt concentrations increase in a stream, bio-diversity decreases. Excess salt can seep into groundwater andstormwater runo. Eective ice control can help prevent excesssalt runo to our waterways.

De-icing in the WinterTere are many alternatives to salt including potassiumchloride, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride, cornprocessing byproducts, and calcium magnesium acetate (CMA).Most can be ound in your local hardware stores under varioustrade names, so check the labels or chemical content. Whilethese alternatives can be spread in a dry orm or sprayed asa liquid, their best use occurs when they are used with salt.

Tey tend to increase the eciency o salt thereby reducingthe amount that needs to be applied. When over-applied, allchloride compounds can be harmul to the environment. Non-chloride corn byproducts recycled rom mills and brewerieshave been shown to be eective de-icers as well. While they areoen advertised as organic or natural, they can have extremely high phosphorus content, a major water pollutant. Numerousstudies have shown calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) to bethe most environmentally benign de-icer. Many northern statesuse CMA on roads in sensitive areas (wetlands, endangered

species’ habitat, drinking water supply, etc.). A couple o disadvantages with CMA however, is that it does not work well below 2° Fahrenheit and it is the most expensive de-icer.Because all de-icers can be harmul to the environment whenapplied in excess, the best strategy is to reduce the use o thesechemicals as much as possible.

• Te rst line o deense should simply be to shovel sidewalksand pathways to keep them clear and to prevent ice rom

orming. Also, consider that salt and de-icers are not eectivewhen more than 3 inches o snow have accumulated.

• Consider the temperature. Salt and calcium magnesiumacetate (CMA) have a much slower eect on melting snowand ice at temperatures below 2° Fahrenheit.

Winter De-icing

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Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management  

• rack winter weather and only use salt and de-icers when astorm is about to come through. I a winter storm does notoccur, sweep up any unused material, store, and reuse or thenext big storm.

• Apply de-icing products discriminately, ocusing on high-use areas and slopes where traction is critical. Apply the leastamount necessary to get the job done. Tis will save money inproduct costs and will also help minimize property damage topaved suraces, vehicles, and vegetation.

• Reduce salt and other chemicals by adding sand or traction.

• Become amiliar with various de-icing products and wetting

agents such as magnesium chloride and calcium chloride,which can improve the eectiveness o salt and reduce theamount needed.

• I you observe ongoing issues o ineective ice managementor examples o poor application, such as excess piles o roadsalt le to disperse, share your concerns with the property manager o your residence or business, or with the City o Philadelphia Streets Department. Te Streets DepartmentHotline is 21-686-60 and their website is www.phila.gov/streets.

• Plant native vegetation that is salt tolerant in stormwaterdrainage swales and ponds that may receive salt-laden runo.Not only will these native species have a greater chance orsurvival, but they will continue to act as an eective buer orour local waterways.

• Store salt and other products on an impervious(impenetrable) surace, such as a basement foor, to preventground contamination. Also store products in a dry, coveredarea to prevent stormwater runo.

Winter De-icing

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Philadelphia Water Department

P

lanters reduce impervious cover (impenetrable suraces,such as concrete sidewalks, parking lots, etc.) by retainingstormwater runo rather than allowing it to directly 

drain into nearby sewers and creeks. Planters oer “green space”in tightly conned urban areas by providing a soil/plant mixturesuitable or stormwater capture and treatment. Tey can be usedon sidewalks, parking areas, back yards, rooops and otherimpervious areas.

Contained PlantersContained planters are used or planting trees, shrubs, andground cover. Te planter is either preabricated or permanently constructed and has a variety o shapes and sizes. Planters may 

range rom large concrete planters to potted plants arranged onan impervious surace like the roo garden shown in the bottomphotos to le. Planters can be placed on impervious suraceslike sidewalks, back yards, rooops, or along the perimetero a building in order to catch stormwater runo rom theroo. Contained planters may drain onto impervious suracesthrough holes in their base or by an overfow structure so theplants do not drown during larger rain events.

Plants should be hardy and sel-sustaining native species with

little need or ertilizers or pesticides. Planters can be made o stone, concrete, brick, wood, or any other suitable material.However, treated wood should be avoided i it leaches any toxicchemicals.

Planters can be permanently xed in place or easily movedaround to enable you to change the look o the planter gardenthat you have created. Numerous manuactured pots andplanters are available at your local hardware or landscapingstore. You can create a “do-it-yoursel ” planter or userecycled items to create planters. Homemade planters may beconstructed by stacking and astening wood beams or layingand mortaring stones. Tere are many websites with detailedinstructions to help with this type o project, such as www.taunton.com, www.hgtv.com, www.diynetwork.com.*

Creating a Contained Planter• Purchase planters at the local hardware or landscaping store,

i you are not building your own planter box.

• Drill holes in the bottom o the planter i they are not already 

there.• Fill the planter with soil and leave a 12 inch area rom the soil

to the top o the planter.

• Choose native drought and saturation tolerant plants andtrees to plant in the planter.

• Occasionally turn or till the soil to improve inltration.

Planters (Container Gardens)

*These are just a few of the websites PWD

came across during our research. These

particular companies are not endorsed by

PWD, nor can PWD verify any information

on these companies.

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Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management  

rain barrel collects and stores stormwater runo rom rooops. By detaining (temporarily holding)the stormwater runo during a rain event, you can

help add capacity to the city’s sewer system and reduce seweroverfows to our creeks and rivers, our drinking water source.Also, the collected rain water can be reused or irrigation towater lawns, gardens, window boxes or street trees.

Rain barrels can be purchased on-line or they can be built. I you would like to purchase a rain barrel on-line, view the list o retailers we came across in our research.* 

Whether you buy or build a rain barrel, the most importantthing to remember is that they are only eective at stormwatermanagement when the stored water is emptied in betweenstorms, making room in the barrel or the next storm.

Building a Rain Barrel• Rain barrels help lower water costs when the stored water is

recycled or lawn irrigation, or example.

• Rain barrels help reduce water pollution by reducingstormwater runo, which oentimes picks up pollutants inits path, such as oil, grease and animal waste, and transportsthese pollutants to the nearest creek, river or stormdrain.

• Storing rainwater or garden and lawn use helps rechargegroundwater naturally.

Materials Needed or Building a Rain Barrel

Rain Barrels

• One gallon drum

• One oot section vinylgarden hose

• One 4 oot diameteratrium grate (basket used

in garden ponds and poolskimmers)

• One inch PVC maleadapter

• One inch x inch PVCmale adapter

• One oot section o drainhose, drain line, or sump

pump line (1 inch)• One 1 inch emale

barbed tting and

• One 1 inch malethreaded coupling

• One vinyl gutter elbow

• Drill (or a hole saw)

• Router, jig saw or copingsaw

• Measuring tapeOptional:

• Waterproo sealant(silicone caulk, PVC glue)

• efon tape

• Fiberglass window screenmaterial or mosquitonetting

• Cinder blocks or woodencrate

Please read the Disclaimeron the inside cover, i youare interested in installingthis project.

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Philadelphia Water Department

Instructions for Building a Rain Barrel

Step 1. Cut Holes in Rain Barrel:

• Cut lower drain hole: Measure about 1 inch above the bottomo the barrel ( gallon drum) where the barrel side begins torise toward the top. Using a inch bit (or hole saw), drill ahole through the barrel.

• Cut upper drain hole: Mark the upper drain hole according towhere you want the overfow to be in the upper region o thebarrel and in relationship to the lower drain. Use a 15 inchhole saw to cut out the overfow hole.

• Cut top hole or atrium grate (lter): Using the atrium grate as

a template or size, mark a circle at the center o the top o thedrum (locating the rainwater inlet in the center o the barrellets you pivot the barrel without moving the downspout).Drill a inch hole inside o the marked circle. Use a router, jigsaw or coping saw to cut until the hole is large enough toaccommodate the atrium grate, which lters out large debris.Don’t make the hole too big—you want the rim o the atriumgrate to t securely on the top o the barrel without alling in.

• Cut notch to hold hose: Using a inch bit or hole saw, cut outa notch at the top o the barrel rim (aligned so that it is above

the lower drain hole). he notch should be large enough sothat the end o the hose with the adapter will irmly snap intoplace.

Step 2. Set Up Barrel and Modiy Downspout:• Set up barrel: Since water will only low rom the garden hose

when the hose is below the barrel, place the barrel on highground or up on cinder blocks or a sturdy wooden crateunderneath your downspout, making sure the barrel is level.

• Modiy your downspout: Cut your existing downspout using

a saw so that the downspout’s end can be placed over the topo your rain barrel. Use a vinyl downspout elbow that its thesize o your downspout (usually 3 inch or 4 inch) to aim thestormwater into the rain barrel or just simply place the barrelright under the downspout.

Step 3. Assemble Parts:• Attach garden hose to lower drain hole: Screw in the inch

PVC male adapter to the lower drain hole. Te hard PVCthreads cut matching grooves into the so plastic o the

barrel. Unscrew the inch PVC male adapter rom the hole.Wrap threads tightly with tefon tape (optional). Coat thethreads o the coupler with waterproo sealant (optional).Screw the coated adapter back into the hole and let it sitand dry or 24 hours (optional). Attach oot garden hoseto the PVC male adapter. Attach the inch x inch PVC

Rain Barrels

*Rain Barrel Distributors

Clean Air Gardening

Composters.com

Day's Garden

ENVIRO ENERGY International Inc.

Gardener's Supply Company

GARDENWARe

Green Culture 

Green Venture

Jerry Baker 

Lee Valley Tools

Midwest Internet Sales

New England Rain Barrel and ComposterCompany

RainCatcher 4000Plow&Hearth 

Rain King

Rainsaver USA 

Real Goods

Riversides 

The Rain King

Spruce Creek Rainsaver

The Rain Pail

Urban Garden CenterThis is not a comprehensive list of rain barrel

distributors or suppliers. This is a list of rain barrel

distributors that PWD came across during our

rain barrel research. The particular companies are

not endorsed by PWD, nor can PWD verify any

information on these companies.

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Philadelphia Water Department

Rain Gardens

rain garden uses native plants and landscaping to soak up rain water (stormwater) that fows rom downspoutsor simply fows over land during a rain event. Te

center o the rain garden holds several inches o water, allowingthe stormwater to slowly seep into the ground instead o fowdirectly rom your roo, yard or driveway into the nearest stormdrain, creek or river.

Creating a Rain Garden• A rain garden allows 30% more water to seep into the ground

than a conventional lawn (South River Federation & Centeror Watershed Protection, 2002). Tis increase helps replenishthe groundwater supply (important during a drought!), and

also helps hold back stormwater rom contributing to the storm-water and sewage overfows into nearby creeks and rivers.

• A rain garden reduces the amount o water pollutionthat would otherwise eventually reach the streams andrivers through stormwater runo. Scientic studies havedemonstrated that the rst inch o rainall is responsible orthe bulk o the pollutants in stormwater runo. A rain gardenis designed to temporarily hold this one-inch o rainall andslowly lter out many o the common pollutants in the water,

such as oil, grease, and animal waste, that would otherwisefow into the waterways via the nearest stormdrain orstormwater runo.

• Te native plants used in rain gardens require less water andless ertilizer than conventional lawns. Tey also require lessmaintenance and provide habitat or birds and other wildlie.

InstructionsBeore starting this project, please conduct an Infltration est (pages 26–27 ) to determine i your soil conditions are adequate

 or a rain garden.Step 1. Size and Locate your Rain Garden:• First, measure the ootprint o your house by getting the

area (length x width) o your house and then determine howmuch o your rooop area drains to the downspout you aredisconnecting to your garden (or gutters with a downspout at

Materials• Plants or the garden

(see plant list)

• Hose, rope or string

• Level

• Shovel or spade

• Measuring tape

• Humus or other soilamendments (optional)

• Downspout extension (alsooptional).

Downspout

Gutter

House Roof 

30 ft.

30 ft.

10 ft.

7 ft.

7 ft.

Roof areadrainage todownspout

RainGarden

I the area o the house is 30 t. x 30 t. and

o this area drains to one downspout:

15 t. x 15 t. = 225 t.2

20% o 225 t.2 = 45 t.2

30% o 225 t.2 = 67.5 t.2

 The rain garden area should be between

45 and 67.5 square eet, depending on soil

type (use 20% or sandier soils).

Sizing Example

Please read the Disclaimer

on the inside cover, i youare interested in installingthis project.

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Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management  

each end, assume that hal the water goes to each downspout).Reer to the sizing example or guidance. Be sure you measurethe house ootprint only, but include the area o any driveway or patio areas that will drain to the rain garden (do not takethe roo slope into account). Te surace area o your raingarden should be between 20% and 30% o the roo area thatwill drain into the rain garden.

• Locate the garden at least 10 eet away rom your house andyour neighbor’s house (to prevent water leakage), and createthe garden in the lowest point o this section o your lawn,maintaining a minimum 1% slope rom the house downto the rain garden. I your yard drain is also located in this

section o the lawn, you can build the rain garden around thedrain. Te bottom o the rain garden would be a ew incheslower than the drain and the overfow would actually be inthe middle o the rain garden.

• I you build the rain garden around your yard drain, whenit lls up with water, the water that overfows rom thegarden will be conveyed saely to the yard drain. I you arenot building around the yard drain, it is imperative that theoverfow is saely conveyed to a drain nearby to prevent it

rom fowing into your neighbor’s property.Make sure the drain is in a suitable location in relation tothe rain garden in order to eectively manage the garden’soverfow.

• When nding the right spot or your rain garden, keep inmind that you will want to create a shallow ditch or swalethat carries the stormwater runo rom the disconnecteddownspout to the rain garden. Te swale will help slow theruno beore it reaches the rain garden.

• Finally, lay out the boundary o the garden with a rope.

Step 2. Dig the Rain Garden:• o enable the rain garden to hold several inches o water

during a storm, you’ll have to dig a hole 3 to 4 inches deepacross the entire surace o the rain garden. I the soil lacksorganic material, you can improve it by digging the hole to6 inches deep, and adding 2 to 3 inches o humus or otherorganic material. Make sure the bottom is level, but gently slopes rom the bottom to the ground level around the edges.I the drop at the edge is too steep, you might get someerosion around the edges.

Rain Gardens

Minimum 10 ft.distance to house

Berm6 in.

Level grade

Organic Material 2–3 in.

Garden Cross Section

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0 Philadelphia Water Department

• Next, test how the garden will hold water during a storm by letting water fow into the rain garden rom a hose placedat the downspout. Based on this test, make any necessary adjustments (e.g., create a berm on the lower side o thegarden using the diggings—the soil that was excavated).

Step 3. Add Plants to the Rain Garden:• Choose native plants that won’t require much watering, but

make sure they can withstand wet soils or up to 24 hours.(Reer to the list o native plants below.)

• Also, take into account how much sun your garden receives.It’s oen helpul to draw out a planting plan beore you start,and mark planting areas within the garden with string. Aerplanting, weeding may be required until the plants becomeestablished. You may also need to periodically prune someo the plants to let others grow. In the winter, leave dead ordormant plants standing and cut back in the spring.

• Your garden may need a bit more maintenance than a lawn inthe beginning, but in the long run it will be easier to care orand provide many added benets!

Native Plants Recommended by Fairmount Park or Rain Gardens

Perennials

Bee-balm—Monarda didyma

Black-eyed Susan—Rudbeckia hirta

Blazing star—Liatris spicata

Blue ag iris—Iris versicolor 

Boneset—Eupatorium peroliatum

Buttery weed— Asclepias tuberosa

Cardinal ower—Lobelia cardinalisEarly goldenrod—Solidago bicolor 

Golden alexander— Zizia aurea

Joe-pye weed—Eupatorium

 purpureum

New England aster— Aster novae-

angliae

New York ironweed—Veronia

novaborescensis

Obedient plant—Physostegia

virginianaOx-eye—Heliopsis helianthoides

Solomon’s seal—Polygonatum

biorum

White snakeroot—Eupatorium

rugosum

Grasses and Grass-like plants

Big bluestem— Andropogon

gerardii 

Bottle brush grass—Elymus hystrix 

Canada wild rye—Elymus

canadensis

Path rush— Juncus tenuis

Purple-top—Tridens avusSot rush— Juncus eusus

Switch-grass—Panicum virgatum

Virginia wild rye—Elymus

virginicus

Ferns

Christmas ern—Polystichum

acrostichoides

Hay-scented ern—Dennstaedtia

 punctilobula

Rattlesnake ern—Botrychium

virginianum

Sensitive ern—Onoclea sensibilis

Shrubs

Gray dogwood—Cornus racemosa

Highbush blueberry—Vaccinium

corymbosm

Mountain laurel—Kalmia latiolia*

Ninebark—Physocarpus opuliolius

Pasture rose—Rosa carolina

Red osier dogwood—Cornussericea

Spicebush—Lindera benzoin

Sweet pepperbush—Clethra

alniolia

*Pennsylvania’s state ower

When purchasing plants, pay close

attention to the scientifc names

to ensure the correct species are

selected.

Rain Gardens

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Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management  

W

ildfower meadows present excellent opportunitiesor stormwater management, promoting ground-water inltration, water quality treatment, and even

food control. Also, when using native plants in a meadow youare not only providing an aesthetically pleasing landscape, butpreserving native species and biodiversity, and creating habitator wildlie. Meadows allow you to spend less time mowing,less time applying ertilizers and lawn chemicals, and lesstime watering in the summer months. Tis low maintenancestructure helps protect our nearby local streams rom pollutantsand other chemicals, in addition to fooding conditions, thereby helping to protect the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, the

source o our drinking water in Philadelphia.Creating a Wildower MeadowStep 1. Site Selection: First, you need to choose a suitablelocation, preerably an open sunny site that gets at least sixhours o sun every day. It should have good air movement. Tishelps keep diseases down, and the movement caused by windwill make plants sturdier, and stems stronger. Te site shouldhave ew weeds. An already cultivated site such as a eld orgarden plot is ideal. A lawn can work too. Te hardest is an

overgrown garden bed, or old eld ull o aggressive weeds andgrasses. A site next to such an area to transorm is also dicult,due to weed seeds blowing in. A site next to a ormal landscapemay also be a hard sell. In such ormal areas, an inormaltransition area may be necessary.

Step 2. Plant Selection: Plant selection is important or longbloom, as noted already, but more importantly or species thatwill last under your conditions. Soil type is not as importantas whether the site is dry or moist. A dry site is best. Te key is to have a diversity o species, as ound in nature, with a

mix o graminoides (grasses and grass-like plants) and orbs(fowering meadow wildfowers). I you don’t create your ownmixture, buy a good quality seed mix rom a reputable supplier.When it comes to these seeds, you truly get what you pay or.Inexpensive mixes oen contain mainly annuals which are goneaer the rst year, contain non-native species, seeds that havepoor germination, potential weedy species, or just a lot o seeddebris. Another consideration under species selection, whetheryou buy a mix or make your own mixture, is whether youwant a short term (1 to years) or longer term meadow. In theormer you may have more annuals or color up ront, but keepin mind that they may be out competed with weeds aer a ewyears. A long term meadow may have mainly perennials whichmay take several years to begin a good display, but will last andout compete many weeds.

Wildower Meadow

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Philadelphia Water Department

Step 3. Site Preparation: Tis is the step oen overlooked, yetthe key to success or ailure. Since these wildfowers are usually less competitive than weeds, the site should contain no weeds orweed seeds. Unless the site has been cultivated already, with ewto no weeds, there are several methods you may use.

You may smother vegetation with black plastic or a whole

growing season. You may also smother existing growth withthick layers o leaves, grass clippings, or newspapers. Anothermethod is to plant a summer buckwheat crop, cut and tilled inbeore going to seed, ollowed by all planting o winter wheat,cut and tilled in late winter. You may need to repeat this asecond season. Or you may repeat deep soil tillage every threeweeks or a ull growing season. I it’s a lawn with no weeds,remove the sod using a sod-cutter that can be rented romequipment rental rms. Many use a systemic herbicide, butavoid those that are residual (last in the soil).

Step 4. Sowing or Planting: You may sow in spring or early summer, which avors grasses over the orbs. Keep the spring-sown meadow watered as you would a newly seeded lawn, oenor a month or two. Sowing in early all avors the orbs, as somegrass seeds rot then. Since many seeds will either not germinateuntil the ollowing spring, or germinate and not grow until then,you should also use annual rye as a winter cover crop with allsowings. Avoid sowing in mid to late summer when there may be droughts or seeds drying out beore germinating. For sowing,

aim or about 80 seeds per square oot. In several years this willresult in one or two plants in this space. O this number persquare oot, or spring sowing use about 60 orb and 20 grassseeds. Tis is about 9 lbs. and 3 lbs. per acre. For all sowing, usea higher proportion o grass seeds.

For small areas (or instance under 1000 square eet), considerusing already-germinated small plants you can buy in traysas “plugs.” Tese are more costly than seeds, but will establishmore quickly. You can nd these at specialty suppliers, eitherlocal, mail-order, or online.

Step 5. Post-planting management: In the rst two years, seedso annual and biennial weeds still in the soil or blown in willgrow aster than your perennial wildfowers. Don’t allow suchweeds the rst year to get above one oot tall beore cutting back to our to six inches high. Te wildfowers will, or the mostpart, remain short and below this height. Te second year, cutback to about one oot high since plants will be larger. A weedor string trimmer works well or this. Don’t pull weeds, as this may also disturb wildfower seedlings. Don’t use herbicides as these

may dri, killing large patches o both weeds and wildfowers!In the third and uture years, mow it close to the ground. Tisshould be done in late all or early spring, removing the debrisrom mowing. Tis exposes the soil to the rapid warmth romthe sun in spring, encouraging your wildfowers over cool-season weeds. Learn your wildfowers, and over the years youcan selectively weed out any weeds or woody plant seedlings.

WildowerMeadow

 The number o plants o anyone type will depend onhow you will be viewing the

meadow. I seeing it roma distance, you’ll want touse larger numbers o each

plant type, and place them insweeping masses. I creating

a small area, or one viewedat close range, you may haveew o any one type plant,

and have them all mixed.

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Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management  

D

ry wells are small, excavated pits, lled with stone orgravel that temporarily stores stormwater runo untilit inltrates (soaks) into the surrounding soil. Te

stormwater can come straight o o the roo o your house via a downspout that either indirectly or directly connects tothe dry well. It can travel indirectly to the dry well through agrassy swale or it can travel directly into the well through apipe. Tis design guide describes how you can disconnect yourdownspout to a swale and dry well that is sized based on theincluded sizing table (noted below). Dry wells help protect ourrivers and streams in combined and separate sewered areas.Tey help add capacity to Philadelphia’s sewer system during

heavy rainalls by helping prevent the stormwater runo romreaching the system and instead allowing the runo to soak into the surrounding soil. In separate sewered areas, the impacto stormwater runo on neighborhood streams, is reduced.By inltrating the stormwater runo on land, the combined(sewage and stormwater) sewer overfows into the Delaware andSchuylkill Rivers are reduced, thereby decreasing pollution inour streams, lessening fooding impacts and improving waterquality in our rivers, our drinking water source. Dry wells alsorecharge groundwater through inltration, which leads to more

fow in streams during dry weather (when it is not raining) andless streambank erosion during wet weather (when it is raining).

Building a Dry WellSite Preparation• Conduct an Inltration est (see pages 24–2) to determine i 

your soil conditions are suitable or a dry well.

• Make sure buried electrical, telephone, and V cables and gaspiping are not going to be a problem in the area that you willbe digging your dry well. I you don’t know where they arelocated, call PA One Call at 1-800-242-1776 at least three daysbeore you dig.

• Install lea guards to prevent leaves and other plant materialrom entering the downspout and clogging the dry well.

• Determine the size o the well. Read through the Dry WellSizing section o this act sheet.

• Determine the volume o crushed stone you will need.

Volume o Stone = Dry Well Area x 1 eetFor example: 33 square eet x 1 eet = 49. cubic eet o stone.

Dry Well

Materials• Measuring tape

• Shovel

• Saw

• Wheelbarrow

• Vinyl downspout elbow

to t your downspout(typically 3 in. or 4 in.)

• Landscape non-wovengeotextile abric

- Make sure the abric is porousenough to allow water to passthrough it.

• Crushed stone

- Use stone that is approximately 1–1 in. diameter.

- Wash the stone to make surethat it is clean. You can use asieve to remove ne materiali the stone seems to have a loto small particles.

- It is important that the stoneis washed (no dust or particles)and that the stone is uniormly 

the same size.- Te stone does not have to

be very large; it just has to beroughly o a similar size toget the maximum amount o  void space in the stone whilemaintaining the structure o the well.

Please read the Disclaimeron the inside cover, i youare interested in installingthis project.

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Philadelphia Water Department

Dry Well Sizing• Reer to the sizing table. Decide what size storm you would

like to store and inltrate in your dry well. Find the closestnumber in Column A. About one-third o storms in thePhiladelphia area are 0.2 inches or less, 60% are 0. inches orless, and 8% are 1.0 inch or less.

• Estimate the roo area draining to the dry well (length [.]x width [.] = area in square eet). Find the closest value inColumn B or the storm depth you have chosen. At this point,you have narrowed your choice down to just one line o thetable.

• Find the area required or your dry well in Column D. Whenyou multiply your dry well length and width, the resultingnumber (area) needs to be at least as great as the number inColumn D. Columns E and F show examples o lengths andwidths that will work.

• Determine whether your yard and budget will allow you tobuild a dry well o this size with a sae overfow. I not, choosea smaller storm and repeat the steps. Storing a larger stormprovides a greater benet, but also requires more space andcosts more. Storing even the smallest storm in the table willprovide benets.

• Te dry well should have a sae overfow , such as anoverfow to your yard drain. In larger storms, your dry wellwill ll up, and you need to make sure that the overfowdoesn’t damage your property or your neighbors’ properties.Keep in mind that the yard drain has to be slightly downhillrom the dry well.

• Te dry well should be at least 10 eet rom your house andany other buildings that are level with yours. It should be atleast 2 eet rom buildings that are downhill rom the dry well.

Dry Well

ExampleStorm Depth =

0.5 inches (Lines 4-6, Column A)

Roo Area =

250 square eet (Line 5, Column B)

Dry Well Area =

19 square eet (Line 5, Column D)

Possible Dimensions:

7 eet long by 3 eet wide =

21 square eet

(Line 5, Columns E and F)

4 eet long by 5 eet wide =

20 square eet

6 eet long by 3.5 eet wide =

21 square eet

A

Storm Depth

(in.)

Dry Well DimensionsB

Roo 

Area

Draining

to Dry

Well

(sq. t.)

C

Depth

(t.)

D

Area

(sq. t.)

E

Example

Length

(t.)

F

Example

Width

(t.)

1 0.25 100 1.5 3.8 2 3

2 0.25 250 1.5 9.4 4 3

3 0.25 500 1.5 19 7 3

4 0.5 100 1.5 7.5 3 3

5 0.5 250 1.5 19 7 3

6 0.5 500 1.5 38 13 3

7 1.0 100 1.5 15.1 6 3

8 1.0 250 1.5 38 13 3

9 1.0 500 1.5 75 26 3

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Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management 25 

Step 1. Modify your downspout. Cut your existing downspoutclose to the ground using a saw so that a vinyl downspout elbowcan fit over the disconnected downspout (usually 3 or 4 inches).e elbow should aim the stormwater runoff into the swale

Step 2. Dig a swale—a small channel or ditch starting fromthe point below the disconnected downspout to the dry well

location. e swale should be just a few inches deep and wide.e swale should slope downward from the downspout to thedry well. e runoff draining from the disconnected downspoutthrough the swale should drain readily toward the dry well.

Step 3. Aer preparing the site and determining the size of yourwell, shape the well, using the Dry Well Sizing Table.

Step 4. Line the well with landscape fabric (non-woven geo-textile fabric or filter cloth). Make sure it is porous enough toallow water to pass through it. Also, excess fabric should be

folded over the edges of the well. e fabric prevents surroundingsoil from getting into the system and clogging it up.

Step 5. Fill the well with the crushed stone. You can either a)fill the well with stones all of the way to the top until flush withthe surrounding soil, b) fill the well with stones just a few inchesfrom the top of the well, add a layer of geotextile fabric andbackfill over the well with soil to plant in it (make sure the layerof fabric is between the stone and soil), or c) fill the well withstones just a few inches from the top of the well, add a layer of geotextile fabric, add a plastic grid on top and river rocks, asshown in the photograph. Just make sure that you don’t moundthe stone or soil, or water will not be able to flow into your dry well.

Step 6. Seed and mulch the swale so the water traveling fromyour downspout to the dry well doesn’t cause erosion.

Post-Construction Maintenance

• Homeowners should make sure they clean their gutters ona regular basis. is will help to prevent the system fromclogging.

• Dry wells should be inspected at least four times annually aswell as aer large storm events.

Dry Well

Vinyl Downspout Elbow

LandscapeFabric

CrushedStone

Downspout

Swale

Downward Slope

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Philadelphia Water Department

A

n inltration test will help you determine i the soil onyour property is suitable or certain types o stormwatermanagement measures, such as a dry well or rain

garden. An inltration test measures how quickly water cansoak in and fow through the soil. It is important to know howyour soil inltrates water beore building a dry well, rain gardenor any other stormwater management structure.

Materials• 6 inch diameter

ring

• Hand sledge andwood block 

• Plastic wrap

• 00 mL plasticbottle orgraduated cylinder

• Water

• Stopwatch or timer

• Pen and paper

Step 1. Drive Ring into Soil:• Clear the sampling area o surace residue, etc. I the site is

covered with vegetation, trim it as close to the soil surace aspossible.

• Using the hand sledge and block o wood,drive the 6 inch diameter ring, beveled edgedown, to a depth o three inches (see Figure 1).

• I the soil contains rock ragments, and thering cannot be inserted to the depth, gently push the ring into the soil until it hits a rock ragment.

Step 2. Firm Soil:• With the 6 inch diameter ring in place, use

your nger to gently rm the soil suraceonly around the inside edges o the ring toprevent extra seepage. Minimize disturbance

to the rest o the soil surace inside the ring.Step 3. Line Ring with Plastic Wrap:• Line the soil surace inside the ring with a

sheet o plastic wrap to completely coverthe soil and ring as shown in Figure 2. Tisprocedure prevents disturbance to the soilsurace when adding water.

Infltration Test

Figure 1

Using the hand sledge and block o 

wood, drive the 6 inch diameter ring,

beveled edge down, to a depth o three inches.

Figure 2

Pour the 444 mL o water (1 inch o water) into the ring

lined with plastic wrap.

500 ML Bottle

Plastic Wrap

Distilled Water

6 inch diameter ring

3 inchesabove soil surface

3 inchesinto the soil

6 inch diameter ring

It is important that

water infltrate well

even during saturatedconditions. Conduct

your infltration test

ater a rain storm.

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Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management  

Step 4. Add Water:• Fill the plastic bottle or graduated

cylinder to the 444 mL (1 inch)mark with water. Pour the 444 mLo water (1 inch o water) into thering lined with plastic wrap asshown in Figure 2.

Step 5. Remove Wrap and Record Time:• Remove the plastic wrap by gently 

pulling it out, leaving the waterin the ring (Figure 3). Note the

time. Record the amount o time(in minutes) it takes or the 1 incho water to inltrate the soil. Stoptiming when the surace is justglistening. I the soil surace is

uneven inside the ring, count the time until hal o thesurace is exposed and just glistening. Record the time.

Step 6. Repeat Infltration Test:• In the same ring, perorm Steps 3, 4, & with a second

inch o water. Record the number o minutes elapsedor the second inltration measurement. Repeat thetest (Steps 3, 4, & ) a ew more times. All o the testsshould be conducted consecutively. I the test continuesto yield the same results, you will have a good idea o the saturated inltration rate. I the soil inltrates thewater under 1 hour, your soil is ready or a dry well, raingarden or any o the other structural projects in thismanual.

Figure 3

Remove the plastic wrap by gently pulling it out, leaving the

water in the ring.

Plastic Wrap

6 inch diameter ring

Infltration Test

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Philadelphia Water Department

Vehicle Maintenance

Washington State Puget Sound Action

 Team

Lawn & Garden Care 

Washington State Puget Sound Action

 Team

Pet Waste 

Washington State Puget Sound Action

 Team

Vehicle Washing 

Washington State Puget Sound Action

 Team

Photo Credits

Vehicle Maintenance 

1. Center or Watershed Protection

(2002). Fact Sheet #6: Vehicle

Maintenance. Skills or Protecting Your

Stream: Retroftting Your Own Back 

Yard.

2. Washington State Puget Sound

Action Team. Water Quality Tip Card.Vehicle Maintenance. www.psat.

wa.gov/Programs/Pie_Ed/Water_Ed_

Materials.htm

Lawn & Garden Care 

1. Washington State Puget Sound

Action Team. Water Quality Tip Card.

Lawn & Garden Care. www.psat.

wa.gov/Programs/Pie_Ed/Water_Ed_

Materials.htm

2. Center or Watershed Protection

(2002). Fact Sheet #1: Lawn Care

Practices/Reducing Overertilization.Skills or Protecting Your Stream:

Retroftting Your Own Back Yard.

Pet Waste 

1. Center or Watershed Protection

(2002). Fact Sheet #5: Vehicle Washing.

Skills or Protecting Your Stream:

Retroftting Your Own Back Yard.

2. Washington State Puget Sound

Action Team. Water Quality Tip Card.

Pet Waste. www.psat.wa.gov/Programs/

Pie_Ed/Water_Ed_Materials.htm

Tree Planting 

page 8 – TreeVitalize

Backyard Stream 

NAM Planning & Design

Winter De-Icing Chuck Leonard

Planter Boxes 

Multiple planters – Miriam Manon

Single planter – Clint Bautz

Rain Barrels 

page 15 – Three Rivers Wet Weather

Demonstration Program

page 16 – Michael Pickel

Rain Gardens 

page 19-20 – Roger Bannerman,

Wisconsin Department o Natural

Resources

Creating a Wildower Meadow 

Robin Sasek, CDM

Dry Wells 

Wissahickon Valley Watershed

Association

Reerences

Vehicle Washing 

1. Center or Watershed Protection

(2002). Fact Sheet #5: Vehicle Washing.

Skills or Protecting Your Stream:

Retroftting Your Own Back Yard.

2. Washington State Puget Sound

Action Team. Water Quality Tip Card.

Vehicle Washing. www.psat.wa.gov/Programs/Pie_Ed/Water_Ed_Materials.

htm

Tree Planting 

1. Wachter, Dr. Susan M. The

Determinants o Neighborhood 

Transormations in Philadelphia

Identifcation and Analysis: The New 

Kensington Pilot Study. The Wharton

School, University o Pennsylvania

(Spring 2005). www.wharton.upenn.

edu.

2. Welsh, Doughlas F. (1997). Plantinga Tree. Texas A&M University. aggie-

horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/

homelandscape/tree/planting.html

Backyard Stream 

1. Lower Merion Conservancy.

Saeguarding Our Streams (2002)

Newsletter.

2. Morris Arboretum o the University

o Pennsylvania. Twenty-fve Ways to

Protect Your Stream and Streamside

Property. Brochure.

Winter De-Icing 1. Maryland Department o the

Environment (2005). Facts About Winter 

Weather, Chemical De-icers and the

Chesapeake Bay.

Rain Barrels 

1. South River Federation & Center or

Watershed Protection (August 2002).

How to Build and Install a Rain Barrel.

Instructional Flyer. Chesapeake Bay

 Trust grant.

Rain Gardens 

1. South River Federation & Centeror Watershed Protection (August

2002). How to Install a Rain Garden. 

Instructional Flyer. Chesapeake Bay

 Trust grant.

2. University o Wisconsin—Extension:

Wisconsin Department o Natural

Resources. Rain Gardens: A Household

Way to Improve Water Quality in Your

Community (2002).

Creating a Wildower Meadow 

1. Center or Watershed Protection

(2002). Fact Sheet #3: Creatinga Wildower Meadow. Skills or

Protecting Your Stream: Retroftting

Your Own Back Yard.

2. Perry, Dr. Leonard Successul 

Wildower Meadows. University

o Vermont Extension and U.S.

Department o Agriculture (6 Oct.

2005). pss.uvm.edu/ppp/pubs/

oh84mead.htm.

Infltration Test 

1. United States Department o 

Agriculture (August 1999). Soil Quality Test Kit Guide.

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