It rains a lot in Portland! To be more precise it rains an average of 37 inches every year. As we mentioned in an earlier post, storm-water and sewage both flow into the same system of pipes underneath our city. Unfortunately, whenever there is a great deal of rain the pipes overflow and the excess (a mixture of storm-water and raw sewage) flows into our rivers, streams and groundwater.
The good news is that there is something that every home-owner can do to preserve the integrity of our water resources. DISCONNECT YOUR DOWNSPOUT!
OK, first of all, what is a downspout? Well, the downspout is that thing that directs the water collected by the gutters of your house or apartment into a pipe in the ground. In Portland that pipe usually leads to the sewer or a storm drain. Either way, disconnecting your downspout helps ease the demand on our system, mitigating the chance of an overflow during heavy rain.
Disconnecting your downspout is simple. You merely need to disconnect your downspout and redirect the water into a porous area that can safely absorb the water. Downspout elbows and extensions are available at any home improvement store as well as splash guards to prevent erosion of soil. But if you're planning to disconnect your downspout you should consult the following links as there are certain precautions that need to be taken. The water must be drained into a porous area at least one-tenth the area of the roof. So if the roof is 500 square feet, the water must drain into an area of soil of at least 50 square feet. Precaution should be taken for safety, do not let the water run over concrete or other non-porous surfaces. Also, make sure that water is released at least ten feet from any retaining wall. For detailed instructions on how to disconnect your downspout and help keep our rivers clean please follow these links including a detailed instructional video by the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.