Feb 12, 2019

Students Renovate Campus Rain Garden

The rain garden had turned into a giant mud pit, but the renovation will help it filter storm water for the campus

Students work to renovate campus rain garden to filter storm water runoff
Students work to renovate campus rain garden to filter storm water runoff

The Youngstown, Ohio, Environmental Sustainability Society and students have begun renovating a rain garden at Youngstown State University. The empty lot along University Plaza originally was not constructed correctly and have consequently turned into a large mud pit. The society is working to change that and transform the site into a community asset.

“What you are supposed to do is have different layers of different soil types and gravel to help the rainwater filter slower, but what they did is just piled up a bunch of dirt and set it in here, so it’s a giant mud pit,” said Alexis Ballerstein with the society.

Pollutants such as salt, antifreeze and oil have traveled into the groundwater system, Ballerstein said, according to local news source WKBN. So far, the group has dug up the rain garden and begun incorporating rocks to slow down storm water.

“It took us about six truckloads of rocks to get all of this here,” Ballerstein said. “It doesn’t look like too much, but it was four different work days and a lot of manpower just to move  everything from an hour away to get here.”

Now, the group will wait until the spring to add native plants that will filter storm water before it enters the groundwater system. They also will add educational signage to teach students and the community about the purpose of the newly restored rain garden. The project is funded by donations.