Power To Save: Rain Gardens

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SCRANTON, Pa. -- Heavy downpours are typical during summer storms but there's a big problem. Where does all that rain go?

"The more we cover the soil of the earth with asphalt and concrete, the rain that falls from the sky during storm events can't enter the ground to become stormwater," explained Bernie McGurl, executive director of the Lackawanna River Conservation Association.

Stormwater runoff picks up debris from streets and parking lots and carries it into rivers, creeks, and streams. You can help prevent that by building a rain garden at home.

"It's an area that's in the yard, at a low point, that can collect the rainwater where it's not going to soak into your building foundation or your neighbor's foundation but just soak in to become part of the groundwater," McGurl said.

Thunderstorms like the ones that moved through this past Tuesday create significant stormwater runoff. If you live within the Lackawanna River watershed and you install one of those rain gardens, you can help a lot of that water from running off into the Lackawanna River.

Rain gardens are found in a lot of different places including outside the Loyola Science Center at the University of Scranton.

"It's a way of introducing sustainability to our students as a visual way of seeing it," said director of media relations Stan Zygmunt.

The Loyola Science Center's rain garden was part of the building's original design. It's used by students for biology courses throughout the year.

"We try and be a leader in the education we provide our students and this is just another concept in the way of showing or illustrating the sustainability concept to them," said Zygmunt.

If you're considering building a rain garden at home, you're not only helping out the environment, you could be partially reimbursed, too. The Lackawanna River Conservation Association received a grant from Pennsylvania American Water that allows them to reimburse 10 to 12 residents with up to $500 each.

"We're focused on the urban communities in the Lackawanna watershed," McGurl said.

You have until August 15 to apply for one of these reimbursements from the LRCA. Click here for more information.

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