Are Rain Gardens Mini Toxic Cleanup Sites?




Research debunks myths about what happens to pollutants swept up in rainwater runoff

“Rain gardens and similar environmentally friendly stormwater infrastructure are being embraced worldwide because they do their job so well. They sponge up polluted runoff, keeping the foul chemicals out of the places that are home to beloved wildlife and where people like to play and fish,” writes Lisa Stiffler in the latest in a series of investigative reports released by the Seattle-based Sightline Institute.

“The worry is that these same, very efficient rain gardens that are cropping up in our parking strips and front yards are doing their job so well that they could become residential toxic sites. But in fact are they? Not according to the research that’s available. The bottom line is that the soil in rain gardens is safe for kids and pets.”


Synopsis of the Research

To download a copy of Lisa’s synopsis of the research findings, click on Are Rain Gardens Mini Toxic Cleanup Sites?

“Lisa has provided a great summary. I have tracked these findings for years and they are consistent in their conclusion that fears of mini-superfund sites in everyone’s yards are unfounded,” adds Dr. Dan Medina, co-editor of the updated Manual of Practice for Design of Urban Stormwater Controls published jointly by WEF and ASCE in 2012. was formerly a professor of Civil Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.



To read the complete story posted on the Green Infrastructure community-of-interest, click on Are Rain Gardens Mini Toxic Cleanup Sites?

To read a second story posted previously on the Rainwater Management community-of-interest, and also featuring the work of Lisa Stiffler, click on Shifting from Gray to Green: Curbing Polluted Stormwater and Creating Communities in the Pacific Northwest