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Portland Back Cove Rain Garden

Out of the lab and into the community

Portland, Maine

The Portland community has always been committed to ensuring the care of its natural environment. When looking for a site to begin an innovative research venture funded by Stantec’s Research and Development Program, Portland was the perfect fit.

We reached out to city officials explaining our hopes to design, construct, and test a rain garden that would filter stormwater before it enters their nearby Back Cove. Since Maine’s stormwater regulations are among the strictest in the US, they were thrilled to be introduced to new ideas of treatment.

Rain gardens aren’t a new idea, but most of those monitored were usually studied in controlled, academic settings—until now. We were excited to bring the rain garden out of the lab and into the community. So far, test data indicates that urban pollutants like phosphorous, nitrogen, metals, suspended solids, grease, and oil are being removed and reduced, in most instances, sufficient to meet the state’s standards for stormwater quality treatment.

The City is grateful for the rain garden’s advances, since it provides an attractive enhancement to the Back Bay Trail, promotes public education and awareness, and helps to sustain the Back Cove’s important ecosystem.

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