This summer, the residents of NHT-Enterprise-owned Copeland Manor Apartments in the Marshall Heights neighborhood of Washington D.C. showcased how housing can be affordable while also helping to improve the health of the city's Anacostia River.
Residents, NHT Staff, friends and family all gathered at Copeland Manor to build a stormwater management system, also known as a rain garden. The new rain garden at the property will reduce the harmful impact of excessive trash, dirt, chemicals and other pollutants that empty directly into the Anacostia river and its tributaries.
Both the environment and property’s bottom line benefit. The new garden keeps rainwater away from the building’s foundation, preventing flooding and foundation issues. Less flooding means less money spend on repairs. The system will also reduce the building's growing water bill by lowering stormwater management fees, and it could even be a source of revenue via D.C.'s novel Stormwater Retention Credit (SRC) trading program.
So how does the stormwater system work? With the help of a D.C. Department of Energy and Environment Community Stormwater Solutions, a stormwater planter is filled with 18 inches of natural filtration materials such as sand, rocks, and soil. Copeland’s residents flexed their gardening skills by adding native plants that provide additional filtration and attract pollinating insects like bees. The new landscaped area will diffuse, absorb and slow down rainwater before it can enter a nearby storm drain and adversely impact the water quality of local streams and rivers.
Although many NHT-Enterprise-owned communities have a resident-managed garden on their properties, Copeland Manor is only the second property to integrate a stormwater management system. Last year, we also introduced a rain garden to NHT’s Galen Terrace Apartments located in the Historical Anacostia neighborhood of D.C.
Today, the Anacostia River is too polluted for swimming and fishing. Hopefully, with more stormwater renovations like the ones at Copeland Manor and Galen Terrace, D.C. residents will soon be able to enjoy all that the river has to offer.
For more information on NHT-Enterprise’s sustainable solutions and projects, please contact NHT Sustainability Associate Kathleen Berube.