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Nov 5, 2018 2:37 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Hampton Village Embraces Rain Gardens

The completed rain garden on the East Hampton Village green. KYRIL BROMLEY
Nov 6, 2018 10:02 AM

A rain garden planted in East Hampton Village last year is already benefiting Town Pond and Hook Pond, according to data collected so far by the Surfrider Foundation.

The bioswale—donated by Surfrider and Piazza Horticulture in Southampton, and designed and installed in partnership with the Ladies Village Improvement Society—is filtering out bacteria and pollutants from rainwater runoff, as planned, Colleen Henn of the Surfrider Foundation said recently.

Rain gardens, which are also called bioswales, are shallow depressions planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses that prevent stormwater runoff from seeping into ponds and other watersheds.

Ms. Henn said the bioswale planted just north of Town Pond has become an incredible asset to the community, providing beauty and inviting pollinators such as bumblebees and monarch butterflies to the village. The garden was installed in spring 2017, while the plants were supplemented this spring.

As of the latest test, performed on September 24 by the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, medium bacteria levels were detected at the green, as opposed to previously high bacteria levels.

“In order to say there has been a statistically significant change in water quality, we need more data,” Ms. Henn noted.

Collection is possible only after a very heavy rain. “We check the bioswale every sampling run, and when water is pooled up, we collect a sample,” she explained.

Since the garden was installed, there has been a handful of samples taken at the green. They indicated that the project is working as desired, and that runoff is being absorbed into the ground. The tests measure levels of lactic acid bacteria.

“When we find high bacteria, the bacteria could be coming from pet and animal waste running off roadways, overburdened septic systems, or a combination of the two,” Ms. Henn pointed out.

East Hampton Village plans to incorporate another rain garden—including benches, a little bridge and a walkway among flowers, shrubs and trees—on the green on Methodist Lane behind the Methodist Church. Since April 26, 2018, increasingly high levels of bacteria and pollutants have been found on that green when rainwater is tested by the Concerned Citizens of Montauk. As of the last testing, done on September 19, the bacteria levels appeared to be increasing, according to Ms. Henn.

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I love this idea. Now homes need to do it along the bay and ocean...as well as in Southampton along Agawam Park.
By LocalEnthusiast (21), East Quogue on Nov 6, 18 10:22 AM
Thank you Surfrider Foundation!! Thank you Piazza Horticulture! Amazing work!

LocalE hit the nail on the head
By toes in the water (692), southampton on Nov 6, 18 3:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
They should think about doing a project like that on old town pond in Southampton.
By Fred s (1470), Southampton on Nov 6, 18 3:35 PM
Awesome! More common sense plantings like these can really help put a dent in
the water pollution problems we are seeing all over the East End!
By Enviro Guy (13), Southampton on Nov 6, 18 3:37 PM
1 member liked this comment