Cities are full of impervious surfaces--like roof tops, sidewalks, and roadways--that prevent rain water from soaking into the ground. Rain flows over streets picking up grease, oil, heavy metals, and other contaminants and then flows into our lakes, rivers, and harbors untreated. In some cities, this contaminated stormwater runoff mixes with raw sewage in pipes that are designed to carry both types of effluent--they're called combined storm-sewers. But stormwater runoff can quickly fill the combined sewers, causing them to overflow into our waterways. Hundreds of millions of gallons of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) end up in Long Island Sound every year, putting at risk the animals and people that call the Sound home. Learn more.
Reducing impervious surface and managing rain where it falls is the first step toward reducing pollution from stormwater runoff. Rain gardens, green roofs, porous pavement, and other green infrastructure slow the flow of stormwater, filter it, help eliminate sewage overflows, and reduce localized flooding. Different from gray infrastructure--such as the pipes and utlities hidden beneath the ground--green infrastructure uses plants and other technologies that mimic nature's infrastructure and help restore natural hydrologic cycles. By building gardens to manage stormwater in cities, we also add important habitat for birds and pollinators, help reduce the urban heat island effect, and conserve energy otherwise used to treat stormwater runoff. Learn more.
At Connecticut Fund for the Environment and our bi-state program Save the Sound, we take an integrated approach to solving pollution problems. We work in Connecticut and New York to identify the threats to water quality and hotspots for stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflows--using water quality monitoring, watershed-scale planning, and citizen science. Once we have identified the source, we work with our community partners to develop creative solutions to stormwater runoff, such as downspout disconnection and rain garden installation. Our Green Projects Team collaborates with grassroots organizations, towns, and municpalities across the Sound to reduce stormwater runoff and restore the health and connectivity of our waterways. Learn More.
A bioswale at the Edgewood School in New Haven, teeming with native perennial plants that birds and butterflies love.