EPA Awards City SWIF Grants for Two Storm Water Projects

The City of North Olmsted has been awarded two grants from the Ohio Environmental Agency for the purpose of improving storm water management.  The Surface Water Improvement Fund (SWIF) was created in 2008 with the passage of Ohio House Bill 119 and authorizes the Ohio EPA to provide grant funding to applicants such as local governments, park districts, conservation organizations, and others.

The Problem 

Uncontrolled stormwater runoff resulting from increased development is the cause of flooding, erosion, and pollution in our waterways.  Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snow events does not infiltrate the ground.  As more impervious surfaces such as pavement and roof areas replace natural green spaces, there is less infiltration resulting in more runoff.  As stormwater flows over the ground, it picks up debris, chemicals, and pollutants that can contaminate our drinking and recreational water supply.   

The (Green) Solutions 

While development is necessary for a growing population, it can be accomplished sustainably and economically through proper planning, design, and practice.  Stormwater management is an integral part of sustainable development, and decentralized methods that imitate nature are the preferred methods. 

City Hall Pavers and Bioretention Project (2010: $196,028) 

This project involves replacing existing pavement within the City Hall parking lot with permeable pavers and a bioretention swale.  The system of permeable pavers and bioretention swale will allow storm-water to permeate the ground surface.  Runoff from an initial rainfall is commonly referred to as the "first flush" because it releases and transports pollutants that have been sitting on the surface, therefore containing the highest concentration of pollutants.  The system of permeable pavers and bioretention will have sufficient capacity to store runoff allowing pollutants to be filtered, settled out of the runoff, and absorbed by the surrounding soil and plant life.  In addition, the extended drain time will allow runoff to infiltrate the ground, recharging the ground water system, thereby imitating the natural cycle.  The project was complete in 2011.  Photos below from EPA site visit and nearing project completion in September 2011. 


North Olmsted Park Pavers and Rain Garden Project (2012: $161,059) 

This project involves replacing existing pavement within the North Olmsted Park with permeable pavers and installing a rain garden.  Like in the City Hall project, the permeable pavers will allow storm water to permeate the ground surface, and runoff will be filtered by the aggregate base material and soil, and stored for a duration of time allowing it to infiltrate the ground or to be released at a controlled rate into the municipal storm sewer system.

A rain garden is a landscaped area planted with perennial native plants which don't mind getting "wet feet."  They are attractive gardens, built in depressions which are designed to capture and filter storm water runoff from impervious surfaces around the home, such as rooftops and driveways.  Rain gardens help keep water clean by filtering storm water runoff before it enters local waterways and recharge the ground water supply.  They help alleviate problems associated with flooding and drainage while providing habitat and food for wildlife including birds and butterflies.  The project will begin in late 2012.

Our Environment: Everyone's Responsibility

Residents can also implement storm water improvements at home through the installation of permeable pavers, rain gardens, rain barrels, and other means.  To learn more about environmental stewardship, visit these websites:

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District