New Rain Garden Helps Protect Passaic River
Green Initiatives Chair hopes rain garden will inspire residents to start their own.
Borough Councilman Len Resto said the borough was turned down for a Walmart Sustainable Jersey grant to build the rain garden. "This being Chatham, private donors came through to make the rain garden possible,” Resto said.
Sprout House Nursery School donated $5,000 to make the garden possible. Z-Tech Construction Inc., Scandic Builders and Green Path Landcare donated labor and materials to build the kidney-shaped garden. Resto thanked all of them for their donations.
“The rain garden is a beautiful addition to Memorial Park,” Mary Keselica, president of the Town and Country Garden Club, said.
The garden, a shallow depression of land located next to the pool house along North Passaic Avenue, includes a variety of native plants, including trees and flowers. An educational sign acknowledges donors and describes the garden's purpose.
Cindy Steffens, the chair of the Chatham Borough Green Initiatives Committee, said stormwater from rain and snow will slowly soak into into the rain garden instead of running off into storm sewers.
The garden in Memorial Park will recharge about 25,000 gallons of stormwater from the pool house roof, pool deck and sump pump into the Buried Water Acquifer each year. This stormwater runoff, which could include pollutants such as grease, bacteria, oil and chemicals, would otherwise flow to the Passaic River.
The Passaic River provides water to several area towns, including Chatham Township. Chatham Borough gets its water from the Buried Valley Acquifer.
"Homeowners and businesses can also install rain gardens on their properties,” Steffens said. "[They] are usually inexpensive to install and easy to maintain.” If 40 people installed rain gardens, Steffens said, they could filter and recharge up to 1,000,000 gallons of stormwater.
A recent annual native plant sale at Sprout House included the plants used in the Chatham Borough rain garden.
A rain garden manual is available online at the New Jersey Native Plant Society website.