Hazelglen townhouses redirects downspout to new rain garden

 

Description:

58 Hazelglen Drive is a 6-unit townhouse, built in 1975, in the Victoria Hills neighbourhood. It is one of several owned and managed by George Lavallee in Kitchener-Waterloo. As an experienced realtor George has made his living by thinking ahead of the curve. So with the trend in rising utility rates he saw an opportunity to convert the lawn at Hazelglen to a rain garden that would be eligible for stormwater credits to help offset these rising operational costs.

Challenge:

A downspout at the front of the building directed water to the residents’ parking lot. According to George Lavallee “in the winter the ice builds up regularly in the parking lot and causes a huge demand for salt” to prevent slips and falls for tenants and their visitors. Another downspout dumped water close to the building’s foundation which put the basement at risk of flooding. George also wanted to improve the curb appeal of the property without significantly increasing its maintenance budget.

Project Details:

  • 5,000 Litre capacityLocation: 58 Hazelglen Dr., Kitchener
  • Maximum Capacity: 5,000 L
  • Estimated Diversion Per Year: 27,000 L
Filsinger Park Naturalization:

The Victoria Hills is home to Filsinger Park, which features a natural urban creek. The creek was straightened and lined with concrete in the 1970s so that it could remove water from neighbouring properties as quickly as possible and send it downstream. In 2014-2015, it underwent a facelift that reflects updated perceptions on how best to manage stormwater. The City of Kitchener removed the concrete and replaced it with a meandering stream surrounded by native plants on its banks. This project was a pilot to determine the capacity of a naturalized stream to handle big storm events and reduce downstream impacts. Hand in hand with this naturalization work, the City of Kitchener is providing incentives for property owners to manage rain where it falls.

By soaking up water on their own properties, such as at the rain garden at 58 Hazelglen, people can do their part to help protect urban waterways.

Solution:

To address these concerns, George Lavallee partnered with REEP Green Solutions on a RAIN Demonstration Project, made possible by a grant from the City of Kitchener. The downspouts at the front of the building were re-configured to outlet away from the parking lot and buried under the sidewalk so that any runoff flows into a rain garden. This effectively addressed the ice build-up in the parking lot so that less salt is required over the winter months, thereby reducing maintenance costs.

The rain garden is specially designed to capture a large volume of water that will slowly percolate into the ground within 24-48 hours. Rain gardens differ from regular gardens because they are dug out and filled with a mixture of compost, soil and mulch with a large percentage of sand. Sand has more pore space which enables the garden to act like a sponge and hold larger volumes of water. Once the rain garden excavation was complete, residents from the neighbourhood participated in a RAIN Garden Party to learn how to make their own rain garden and plant the one at 58 Hazelglen. Native plants were selected because they are able to thrive in extreme wet and dry conditions. As their root systems grow, the rain garden will be able to better infiltrate water into the ground.

hazelglen stormwater solution

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