September 2015
Old North Rain Garden
14th Street Between Monroe and Clinton Streets
St. Louis, Missouri
N38.647222 W90.195278

The FLOWer cairn poses on the rocky bed of the Old North Rain Garden that was installed in Summer 2013. The purpose of a rain garden is to slow down stormwater before it gets to Metropolitan Sewer District’s (MSD) underground pipes. Like most older cities, St. Louis has a sewer system that carries both stormwater and wastewater in the same pipes. This combined system means that heavy rains can produce more water and sewage than the treatment plants can handle. Unless we can retain water where it falls, some of the excess “combined sewer outflow” pours directly into area rivers. In the newer parts of St. Louis, the storm and waste systems are in separate pipes, but even there, too much rain in the drains will cause problems.
Rain gardens are one of the ways to retain rainwater near the place where it touches the ground. Rain gardens improve soil so it will store and filter stormwater, allowing the area to slowly absorb the excess water. The garden’s native plants, basins, and water features beautify public spaces and also help store water that would otherwise rush from roofs, parking lots, sidewalks and streets into the overburdened sewers.
Rainscaping is the umbrella term for rain gardens, water features, catch basins, permeable pavements, and other techniques that slow and contain stormwater to reduce sewer overflows and minimize basement backups. Rainscaping is one part of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District’s Project Clear to improve water quality. MSD’s “Get the rain out” focuses on a variety of projects preventing excess stormwater from entering the sewer system, including massive underground tunnels, some residential downspout disconnections, and five additional neighborhood rain gardens in north St. Louis city.

For more information about MSD Project Clear rain gardens: click here

To learn more about rain gardens: click here