Photo by Zachariah Bryan
A community member shows off her rain garden

Learn more about RainWise with four events

We finally got a break, but Ballard (and everywhere else West of the mountains) has been hammered by rain these past couple weeks. Which most likely means storm water runoff has been gushing into and polluting Salmon Bay.

One way that Ballardites can help out is by participating in Seattle Public Utilities RainWise program, a program which makes it easy and cheap for residents to get rain gardens and/or cisterns installed on their property. Rain gardens and cisterns are two ways to prevent rainwater from running off into Salmon Bay or other bodies of water and can divert tens of thousands of gallons of water per year.

SPU will offer a rebate which could cover 100 percent of the cost -- averaging about $4,000 depending on house size -- for whatever cisterns or rain gardens you get. Contractors, which residents can choose themselves, will rig it up so absolutely all of the rain that comes off the roof will drain directly into the gardens or cisterns.

On a recent tour, the Ballard News-tribune was able to see exactly how this worked, with pipes often wrapping around the house in a barely noticeable way. We'll write more about the tour later this week.

The Ballard Basin Rebate area is, approximately, west of 15th St NW, and between NW 56th and 85th Streets. Check your address here. RainWise will be expanding through most of Seattle by the end of 2015.

Here are four events, which can be signed up for here, that people can go to in the Ballard area to learn more about the RainWise program (from a Sustainable Ballard press release):

RainWise Workshop - Wednesday, Nov. 28, 6-7:30 pm at the Ballard Library

Learn about how rain gardens and cisterns help manage storm water, hear from delighted RainWise homeowners and get inspired by slides of their yards, meet trained RainWise contractors who can offer a free consultation, learn how to get costs up to 100% rebated, and get set to take the next step.

RainWise Open House - Sat 12/1, 2-4 pm near downtown Ballard (address will be sent upon registration)

A RainWise homeowner is showing her cisterns and rain garden (complete with edibles - strawberries, blueberries, and herbs), which help manage storm water and protect Puget Sound. Come get a guided tour of how it all works from Sam and Alexander, the neighbor boys... meet trained RainWise contractors and get all your questions answered... have cider and cookies and meet your neighbors... bring the kids, and make bird-seed balls!

RainWise Open House - Sun 12/9, 2-4 pm near Ballard High School (address will be sent upon registration)

Another homeowner is showing off his double front yard rain garden (also with edibles). Come get a guided tour of how it all works ... we'll have a tent and firepit set up outside ... view our RainWise scrapbook of other installations around the neighborhood ... meet RainWise-trained contractors... have hot cider and cookies ... and meet your neighbors!

RainWise Workshop - Mon 12/10, 6-7:30 pm at the Ballard Library

Same as #1 above, but with different homeowner stories and photos, and different contractors. Come to one or both!

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