Green stormwater infrastructure such as rain gardens, permeable pavement, and rain barrels mimic nature to capture, store, and filter stormwater. Even when plants are dormant during winter, green infrastructure continues to function, helping to reduce flooding and river pollution. However, improper handling of snow and ice can damage our public green stormwater projects and residents’ private rain gardens or rain barrels.
Follow these tips to protect green infrastructure during winter:
- Do not overapply de-icing salt or sand on sidewalks or streets, especially next to green infrastructure. De-icing salts can harm plants and water quality, while sand can clog rain gardens and permeable pavement.
- Do not plow or shovel snow piles next to or on top of green infrastructure, since piles block stormwater flow and crush plants and soil.
- Make sure rain barrels are completely drained and spigots are left open to prevent freeze damage. Switch downspout diverters to bypass the barrels so that stormwater drains through the downspout. If storing barrels outside, cover with a tarp.
Learn more at pgh2o.com/help-manage-stormwater.