New Orleans Neighborhood Pilots Innovative Stormwater Solution

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Homeowners in one New Orleans neighborhood have completed 50 projects designed to let stormwater filter into the ground rather than pouring into storm drains. That’s about one-quarter of the total expected in Gentilly. 

Detention Basins are one of the recommended mitigation projects. Photo: CIty of New Orleans

New Orleans is among many cities nationwide taking green measures to tame stormwater as climate change increases the number and intensity of storms.

The projects at homes in the Gentilly neighborhood can hold a total of nearly 144,700 gallons (547,750 liters) of stormwater -- or just over an inch (2.5 centimeters) of rain in that area, according to a news release from the city and the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.

The agency got $5 million for grants to plan and install such projects at up to 200 homes in the neighborhood as part of a $141 million federally financed plan for a Gentilly Resilience District. The grant program is designed for low- to moderate-income homeowners.

The most recent project removed 256 square feet (24 square meters) of concrete and replaced it with 801 square feet (74 square meters) of permeable pavers, which let rain soak into the ground below. Another 140 square feet (13 square meters) of stone-filled trenches called French drains were installed. All told, the work will keep 3,000 gallons of stormwater out of the drains, the city said.

Homeowners have a variety of choices, including not only permeable pavement and French drains but native plantings, rain barrels, rain gardens and stormwater planter boxes. The homeowner then chooses a design team and works with it on the plans.

The Gentilly Resilience District is a pilot project. The city hopes to be able to set up similar programs in other areas.

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