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RainWise offers locals rebates for rain gardens

Posted by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin on March 30th, 2015


Fourteen thousand homes in north Seattle just became eligible for big rebates for the installation of rain gardens or cisterns through the City of Seattle’s RainWise Program.

The program is a combined effort by Seattle and King County to continue the fight against water pollution by subsidizing the cost of installation of rain gardens and cisterns on private property.

After the recent addition, 55,000 homes and businesses in the City of Seattle are eligible for the RainWise program. Check out the map above to see eligible areas in our neighborhood.

In addition to being visually pleasing, rain gardens help to reduce one of the largest sources of water pollution by naturally cleaning and controlling stormwater. Cisterns can store runoff from rooftops that can later be used to water outdoor plants and gardens.

Over 600 residents have already taken advantage of the RainWise rebates, which can cover up to 100 percent of a professional installation. According to SPU, these installations have collectively reducing storm water runoff by 9 million gallons annually.

“Working together, one home at a time, the RainWise approach adds big value to the larger effort to protect our waters,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “It’s a win for all, because we can all be part of the solution.”

RainWise customers have also been satisfied with the process. “I am happy to have a sign in my yard letting neighbors know about the rain garden on my property. I hope to inspire them to get their own. At the very least, I can help them learn more about the problem and how we all can pitch in to reduce pollution going into Lake Washington,” says RainWise customer Ann Burchart.

The City and County are hosting a free RainWise event at Ballard Library (5614 22nd Ave NW) this Wednesday, April 1, from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. to give locals the chance to learn more about the program and meet contractors who are trained and ready to install the systems.

Click here to learn more about the RainWise program online.

Image courtesy of RainWise Program.

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4 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 sandar // Mar 30, 2015 at 10:31 am

    I wanted you all to know that the tax liability for our rain garden was over
    $2100. . The city
    provides a 1099-MISC with box 7 checked.
    This is for self-employment. So there is a self-employment tax imposed as
    well as income tax.

    I’m not sure how to get this word out to the general public but will be
    working with the city to figure this out.

    So, inn the end, the rain garden is not ‘free’ as had been indicated to us
    at time when we had gutter issues that needed repaired.

  • 2 An Observer // Mar 31, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I use my rain barrel to provide water to one of my three toilets. Works great, had to install an old style ballcock valve. I will eventually use this system for all three. I don’t have to pay for the water, or the sewer charges based on the water usage. No taxes, neither. Thanks for letting me know the government is taxing rain gardens in this program as income.

  • 3 LH98117 // Mar 31, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    I remember about 6 or 7 years ago the city put in some rain gardens in lower Ballard as an “experiment” that resulted in dead plants, clogged drains, people having flooded yards and (if I recall) some flooded basements. The city paid to remove them but the do-gooders who work for the city and their environmental friends never admitted defeat, and said it was “not a big deal.”

    Then a few years later they decided their experiment was a success and that they would forcibly install rain gardens in front of people’s homes in Loyal Heights whether they wanted them or not. Apparently it was so important that the plan also included taking away parking spaces around blocks that include a school and a church, neither of which have any parking.

    The city asked for feedback through a mailing and apparently got a lot, because they then decided to hold public meetings where no input was taken, instead there was just a bunch of poster boards with nice pictures and propaganda about how rain gardens would save the planet. When I asked the woman who was the project manager why the city felt the need to spend millions on something that hadn’t worked that people didn’t want she got a very angry look and said that “The city is required by federal EPA law to do so to control run off.” I then asked if the city had considered litigation as a more cost effective means to get more clarification about what was required or hold off the requirement because of the substantial pricetag and she got even angrier, said nothing, pretended to smile then walked away. Glad to know my tax money is going to pay her salary and benefits…NOT!

    If folks want to install a rain garden in the planting strip because they feel convicted to do so that is their business to do on their quasi-private property, but I don’t see a need for the city to spend the taxpayers money to subsidize it like this.

  • 4 Matthew Higgins // May 30, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    LH98117 These are a different design. They save the city money in the long run.

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