Secretary of the State Denise Merrill Builds A Rain Garden

Yesterday, Save the Sound held an event with Secretary of the State Denise Merrill unveiling her new 201-square-foot bioswale/rain garden combination on the front lawn of her house in the West End of Hartford.

On August 30, ground was broken to construct her new rain garden.

Ground being dug for Secretary Merrill’s rain garden/bioswale
Photo: Kierran Broatch
The trench for the rain garden/bioswale
Photo: Kierran Broatch

By the end of the following day, the majority of Secretary Merrill’s rain garden/bioswale was planted.

Plants in Secretary Merrill’s rain garden/bioswale
Photo: Kierran Broatch
The completed rain garden/bioswale as seen from the sidewalk

Secretary Merrill, an avid gardener, was inspired to make her front lawn eye catching in order to do her part in addressing the stormwater issues in her neighborhood.

In Hartford, stormwater has the added problem of causing combined sewer overflows, a problem that causes raw sewage to pour into the Connecticut River and residents basements.  While the MDC and DEEP are trying to remedy this situation through Clean Water Fund upgrades, steps like residential rain gardens can have a major impact. Green infrastructure techniques enable stormwater to penetrate our normally impermeable surfaces and filters out the harmful substances before the water flows into our water bodies or combined sewage system pipes.

Yesterday, Secretary Merrill, along with Leah Schmalz from our office, Lelaneia Dubay of Dubay Designs (who designed the rain garden/bioswale), Mike Dietz of UConn NEMO, and Mary Rickel Pelletier of Park Watershed, Inc., explained the aspects of her unique garden to neighbors, friends, and elected officials.

Mike Dietz of UConn NEMO explaining how rain gardens work

Here is the statement we put out yesterday about Secretary Merrill’s new rain garden/bioswale:

“We are thrilled to be joining Secretary Merrill as she takes action to protect the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound,” said Leah Schmalz director of legislative and legal affairs for Save the Sound. “It is a beautiful rain garden that will do its small part to control stormwater runoff into our state’s waters and stop raw sewage here in Hartford.  We are proud to have an elected official that not only talks the talk, but walks the walk and we hope others step up to do their part.  Having neighborhoods, like hers, that take charge to piece together individual green infrastructure techniques will help put Connecticut on the path to less expensive sewer projects and fewer closed beaches.”

Check out this great video that Fox CT did to learn about the specific details of Secretary Merrill’s rain garden/bioswale and how it works.

Posted by Rebecca Kaplan, director of communications for CFE/Save the Sound

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