How Many Raingardens Are Actually Functioning?

We’ve heard SPU state twice that 70% of the Raingardens are functioning properly.

There are 31 cells total in our two-block area.

12 (39%) are not draining at all. In fact, we have witnessed those cells filling up again within hours of being pumped when it is not raining, indicating to us they are below the water table and cannot possibly be fixed, even with underground drainage.

9 (29%) are not draining, but could possibly be fixed (unknown). These sit with anywhere from two to four inches of water for several days after it rains 1/2 inch.

10 (32%) are functioning properly.

We live here; we watch and build monitoring reports. This is the most accurate information. 

We’re all working toward the same goal – to cut down on the run-off and save Puget Sound. We should identify the functioning Raingardens honestly so we know what to address and where to cut our losses.


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2 responses to “How Many Raingardens Are Actually Functioning?

  1. Sharon

    The city’s criteria as to what constitutes a “funtioning” raingarden is flawed. They have repeated stated that we must have 3 rain-free days in order to meet their “draining within 72 hours” criteria. In Seattle, this rarely exists in the wintertime. Hence we have extended periods of standing water in many of these raingardens. The city’s criteria for what constitues a “functioning” raingarden needs to be revised. Furthermore, the city would be well advised to include resident input in determing what the new criteria should be. Otherwise, I don’t forsee community buy-in in our neighborhood and suspect that will also be the case moving forward to other neighborhoods.

  2. Liz

    I hope that City representatives will explain what they consider to be the minimum acceptable infiltration rate rate for the public raingardens. Residents putting in their own raingardens are told not to install a rain garden or other water infiltration system in areas where the test hole does not drain at a rate of at least 0.25 inches per hour. If the public raingardens were draining at 0.25 inches per hour a properly sized raingarden that pooled 6 inches of water would drain within 24 hours. That is not what we are seeing. I agree with Sharon’s request that the City include resident input in determining what the revised criteria should be.

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