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An area facing chronic basement backups during storms benefited this summer from a neighborhood environmental stewardship demonstration project that was implemented by volunteers and City of South Bend engineering staff.
A pilot household was outfitted with green solutions to flooding problems, including a rain barrel, a backyard compost bin and a rain garden. The low-cost initiative was part of a larger education effort, which provided brochures about how neighbors can replicate the project.
“By taking roof downspouts off the combined sewer, installing colorful rain barrels to store the water for irrigating on hot, dry days and adding a rain garden to help soak excess rainfall runoff into the ground to recharge the aquifer, we reduce risk of sewer backups,” said Gary Gilot, director of public works for the City of South Bend. “We are treating rainwater as a resource to be harvested wisely.”
The project was completed with help from volunteer alumni families from the University of Notre Dame, City engineering staff and interns, and consultants from Walkerton-based Cardno JFNew. In addition, the visiting families also performed invasive species eradication along Bowman Creek, Bicentennial soldier hydrant painting, and bluebird house deployment near storm water basins and the Riverside Trail.
“This is a welcome addition to my plans to leave as small an environmental footprint as possible. The design, layout and selection of plants fit my yard perfectly,” said Doyle Wright of 2014 Kendall St. “The City of South Bend is truly a progressive, All-America City! I am proud to be a citizen here.”
Wright also decided to “pay it forward.” He had a tree planted by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of South Bend.