Ambler EAC Offers Workshops to Reduce Runoff

Erin Landis, for the Shuttle

The Ambler Environmental Advisory Council is working to reduce stormwater runoff in Ambler, but we need the help of all our residents.

Ambler’s EAC volunteers work with our municipal government to build a culture of stewardship and implement projects that will benefit the community and the environment. The EAC coordinates annual tree plantings, an April EarthFest, and much more. Over the next two years, Ambler EAC is committed to installing hundreds of stormwater management tools throughout the borough.

Stormwater refers to rainwater that runs off impermeable surfaces (like pavement, sidewalks, and roofs) during rainstorms. In a natural area, almost all rainfall soaks into the ground or is absorbed by vegetation. But in urban areas, most of the rain runs off roofs and travels through downspouts, as well as over land, to street sewers that convey it directly to nearby streams.

The huge increase in the volume of stormwater during rainstorms greatly increases the risk of flooding, causes erosion, and decreases the quality of water in streams. Trash and pollutants from our streets and driveways run off into the Wissahickon Creek, which is the source of drinking water for many Philadelphia residents.

Ambler residents can help with this issue by coming to a workshop, then selecting to install one or more of the following subsidized green stormwater infrastructure tools:

  • Rain Barrels: A 55-gallon barrel gets connected to a downspout to capture rainwater draining from part of your roof. The captured rainwater can be used to water nearby plants and gardens during dry periods. ($25)
  • Rain Gardens: Rainwater flowing off impermeable surfaces gets directed to a constructed depression in your yard that is planted with wet-loving, long-rooted plants that soak up rainwater. The rain garden is designed and installed by a professional. ($1,300 subsidy)
  • Downspout Planters: One of your downspouts is directed to an attractive planter box, where plants filter the water, and keep some of it from running off your yard. ($100)

Ambler residents who install one or more of these tools will beautify their property, decrease flooding, reduce pollutants in our creeks, and help their neighborhood with stormwater issues.

If many of us implement these tools, the combined effect will contribute significantly to a larger solution to our stormwater issues. Please visit the Growing Ambler Greener website to find out more.

Erin Landis is a member of Ambler EAC.