Clean Foundation expanding home storm water management program

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Homeowners in Yarmouth are getting help in learning how to manage storm water on their properties with the help of the Clean Foundation’s free educational program RainYards.

Storm water is water that pools on the ground during periods of heavy rain and snowmelt. It can spread harmful pollutants like fertilizers, pesticides, oil, and garbage into nearby rivers, lakes, and the ocean. It can also lead to costly flooding events and can even cause sewer systems to backup and overflow.

Storm water issues are becoming more prevalent across the globe. As cities and towns continue to grow, a larger portion of the ground in these areas is covered in cement, asphalt, and other surfaces that do not absorb water. As a result, rain and snowmelt runs over the surface of the ground rather then being absorbed into it.

A variety of other factors also affect storm water including soil type, the size and status of municipal storm water infrastructure, and the topography of the region.

Scientists and municipalities are especially concerned about the impact of climate change, which is anticipated to bring more frequent and more severe periods of storms.

“Since it’s inception in 2011, the town's Climate Change Action Plan Committee has discussed the need to face Yarmouth’s vulnerability to rising sea levels, unpredictable weather patterns, storm surges, and the need to look after our local food supply,” says town councillor Madeleine Daues. “It only makes sense to turn a potential liability into an important asset, and do our part in finding (and accepting) ways to reduce storm water and flooding problems that could spread harmful pollutants into our nearby waterways and instead, keep the water for more useful and productive needs.”

The RainYards program, which is free to participants in the Town of Yarmouth thanks to a donation from the Intact Insurance Foundation, aims to reduce the environmental and financial impacts of storm water by providing one on one education to homeowners. Storm water Advisors from the Clean Foundation meet with participants at their homes to identify and discuss storm water issues specific to their property. The advisors then provide the participants with educational information and personalized recommendations on how to make landscape changes and retrofits that

are suitable for their yards.

“We are delighted to support the ongoing efforts of Yarmouth and its residents in addressing local storm water concerns,” says Clean Foundation Executive Director Chris Morrissey. “The RainYards program empowers homeowners to protect their homes, community, and local environment from the impacts of flooding and storm water.”

The Clean Foundation is offering this free program to 75 households in the area this year – registration is first come, first serve.

To register or learn more, visit www.clean.ns.ca/rainyards or e-mail yarmouth.water@clean.ns.ca.

Organizations: Clean Foundation, Climate Change Action Plan Committee, Intact Insurance Foundation

Geographic location: Yarmouth

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