Green Stormwater Tools

Green City, Clean Waters promotes the use of green stormwater infrastructure throughout the city. These green tools use plants, trees and stone to filter store and manage stormwater in a smart and cost-effective way.

Stormwater Basins

A stormwater basin is a vegetated depression designed to slow runoff, remove pollutants and store stormwater as a permanent pool that would otherwise cause flooding and erosion.

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Blue Roofs

A blue roof is a non-vegetated storage system made of stone and a sealed waterproof roof membrane that allows the roof to retain stormwater. The collected stormwater is then slowly released to roof drains or allowed to evaporate.

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Stormwater Bumpouts

A bumpout is a landscaped extension of the street curb. Runoff water is directed underneath the system to be stored, infiltrated, and absorbed by plants, such as grasses, perennials, and shrubs.

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Cisterns & Rain Barrels

A rain barrel is a storage container connected to a downspout that captures stormwater runoff from the roof. The stored water can be used to water non-edible plants or for outdoor cleaning.

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Downspout Planters

Connected to the roof, downspout planters allow stormwater from gutters to flow through and be absorbed by vegetation. The systems temporarily store runoff and filter sediment and pollutants as water infiltrates through the planter.

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Drainage Wells

A drainage well is a manhole structure that allows stormwater runoff to flow in through holes on its cover or funnel in from other sources. The system discharges the water into surrounding soil.

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Green Gutters

Green gutters are narrow, shallow landscaped strips along a street’s curb line that are designed to allow stormwater runoff from both the street and the sidewalk to flow directly into the system.

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Green Roofs

A green roof is a roof fully or partially covered in plants and waterproof media that helps reduce the volume and velocity of stormwater runoff from roofs by temporarily storing stormwater, slowing excess stormwater release, and promoting evaporation.

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Permeable Paving

Permeable or porous pavement allows water to soak through the surface rather than flow over the surface and into storm drains. This system provides the structural support of conventional pavement but also has an underground stone reservoir.

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Stormwater Planters

A stormwater planter is a specialized sidewalk system that captures runoff from streets and sidewalks. The planter is lined with permeable fabric, filled with gravel or stone, and topped off with vegetation.

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Rain Gardens

A rain garden is vegetation designed to collect runoff from impervious surfaces, allowing water to infiltrate the ground. Rain garden plants are generally robust native species that can thrive in extremely wet and dry weather.

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Subsurface Trenches

A storage trench is a subsurface rectangular bed cut into the street or sidewalk. The storage areas are designed to infiltrate stormwater or slow its flow into the sewer system.

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Swales

A swale is a grassy depression that controls stormwater velocity and infiltrates runoff where feasible. Swales are typically used to channel stormwater from a street or sidewalk to a rain garden or basin.

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Tree Trenches

A tree trench is a system of trees that are connected by an underground infiltration structure. On the surface, it looks like a row of ordinary street tree pits, but underground there is a system to manage incoming runoff.

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Stormwater Trees

Stormwater trees look like typical street trees, but these specially designed systems include a deep stone pit that holds excess water during intense rainstorms and as snow melts.

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Stormwater Wetland

Stormwater wetlands are shallow systems that collect runoff and store it in permanent pools. They are populated by marshland vegetation that help treat the water and allow pollutants to settle at the bottom like they do in natural wetlands, which allows them to support wildlife.

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