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Rain garden to help keep groundwater in check

June 15, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Perhaps it was fitting that rain slowly dampened the plans that Merle Holsinger was holding Thursday morning.

The civil engineer walked around the site of a future rain garden, being funded with the Antietam Watershed Association's remaining $15,000 of its $100,000 Legacy Grant.

The rain garden behind Summitview Elementary School will collect storm runoff from 64 acres surrounding it, said Stephen Rettig, president of the watershed association.

The rain garden, which looks simply like an area of vegetation when plantings are finished, cleanses and cools the water before filtering into a nearby stream, Rettig said.

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"It'll keep the groundwater here rather than going downstream, which we rely heavily on for drinking water here in the borough," Rettig said.

"It's a sensitive area because this is a point where a lot of Waynesboro's runoff is coming," said Andrew Stottlemyer of the Franklin County Conservation District.

"It's a good idea to try to get in here and let the water soak into the ground as much as a possible before it gets to the Antietam Creek, which is not far."

Some science teachers have expressed interest in using the rain garden as a teaching tool, Rettig said. He hopes to add signs explaining its functions someday.

Funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Legacy Grant expires at the end of the month, Rettig said.

"We're going to be keeping the remaining $15,000 of our grant - instead of sending it back - in our community," Rettig said.

An additional $11,000 worth of materials have been donated from the Washington Township Supervisors, Mohn's Lumber Co., Valley Quarries, L/B Water, Green Arbor and B&D Landscaping. Site services were provided by Holsinger and John Kahl.

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