1 New Orleans Neighborhood, 150 Stormwater Capture Projects

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans has completed projects to capture and slowly release storm water at 150 homes in one neighborhood. The work could help more than 441,000 gallons (1.7 million liters) of water reach the soil rather than pooling in yards and streets and winding up in the drainage system, a city news release said.

“Together, we are building a path to a more resilient future by learning how to live with water,” Joseph Threat, a project official, said in the news release Wednesday. “Our community’s efforts to hold water on their own property is an important and effective green infrastructure intervention.”

The work is part of a $5 million project to make such improvements at up to 200 homes in the Gentilly neighborhood to reduce flooding.

At Lydia Taylor’s home, contractors removed more than 100 square feet (9 square meters) of concrete and created a patio made of pavers that let water through to the ground. Other improvements include rain barrels, infiltration trenches, rain gardens, storm water planter boxes that capture the water and release it slowly, and trees that pull in water through their roots.

“We had a rainy day and I came out just to see if I had any settling water, and the permeable pavers area was totally dry. It was amazing,” Taylor said in the statement from the mayor’s office and the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.

Taylor’s yard can now capture 6,170 gallons (23,300 liters) of storm water, or just short of the first 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain on her house and yard during a major storm.

As part of the $5 million project, homeowners can get up to $25,000 worth of interventions such as rain barrels, storm planters and permeable pavements, which let rain reach the ground below them. The city won a $141 million federal grant in 2016 to make the Gentilly neighborhood a “resilience district.” The program lets homeowners there work with local landscape architects and construction contractors and choose the improvements they want.

“The Gentilly project is one of the most comprehensive green infrastructure projects we have seen in our city so far,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “This program also engages low-to-moderate income residents that otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to build elements like this on their properties.”

Citywide, $270 million is being spent to create spaces for rainwater.

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