Massachusetts Watershed Coalition

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Infiltration and Low Impact Development

Property owners, municipal officials and community groups can consider a variety of options to cleanse storm runoff and recharge the groundwater that replenishes streams and ponds in dry times. The chart below shows some popular lower-cost measures that can be used by varied community members.

The first step in choosing ways to reduce runoff is to walk the land during a storm – see where the storm water goes and decide the best ways to intercept the runoff from impervious areas (hard surfaces). Consider how multiple practices could be combined to achieve the best results – for example, a rock filled trench could convey driveway runoff to a rain garden. Likewise, a grass swale could convey roof runoff to a groundcover buffer and/or a porous patio area.

BGY partner organizations can assist with a runoff analysis, and help you to arrange design services that show how to combine infiltration practices into an attractive, functional landscape. We can also identify contractors who know how to install infiltration practices.

Join the many communities across the state that have installed measures to cleanse polluted runoff. Check out our Stormwater Solutions in Action: An Inventory of Projects Reducing Polluted Runoff in Massachusetts and map.

Stormwater Infiltration Practices

There are many types of infiltration practices. The MassDEP Stormwater Handbook, Volume 2, Ch. 2 has technical specifications for structural Best Management Practices (BMPs) that are suitable for different site conditions. Excerpts from the DEP Handbook are in A Community Guide to Growing Greener, which can be downloaded from this website.


Professional resource links

LANDSCAPERS -- for rain gardens, swales, and related simple earth structures that slow and infiltrate rain water:

* Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) - Accredited Organic Land Care Professionals:

* Ecological Landscaping Association (ELA) - Eco-Pros:

NOTE: MWC does not recommend or verify the qualifications of individual contractors, and assumes no liability for their work. Checking references is always advised.


BGY references

The Internet offers a wealth of helpful guides, fact sheets and information about stormwater solutions that cleanse runoff. It is easy to use a search engine like Google and enter keyword for topic of interest (e.g., "rain garden", "porous paving" and so forth). You can also see examples of these solutions - use Google or another search engine and click on images, then enter keyword. Following is a short list of references about some topics of special interest.

Rain gardens

DIY infiltration practices (grass swales, soakage trenches and much more)

Other helpful information for varied community interests:

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