Flood prone Everett neighborhood dry thanks to new program




Posted on November 19, 2013 at 7:40 PM

Laura White finds her Zen in her garden.

"It's my favorite thing to do," she said, while digging in the dirt outside her home. "I feel peaceful here."

The garden in her front yard is an oasis from daily stress, especially when worrisome weather arrives.

"When that weather comes, I wanted to go check myself in somewhere!" She joked.

Whenever there was a major rainstorm in her North Everett neighborhood, the streets would run like rivers and her home would flood. In 2010 she suffered 6 inches of water and sewage in her basement, $3,000 in damage and months of repairs.

"If you live in an area that rains as much as it does here, they should've mastered the drainage situation," she told KING 5 back then.

Now, the City of Everett is returning to nature to alleviate perennial flood problems. They're building "rain gardens" around town on people's properties. A rain garden is essentially a ditch dug in your yard and then filled in with soil and plants like a forest. The vegetation filters and soaks up stormwater from downspouts and roads and diverts it into the watershed. Less water runs into gutters and storm drains, keeping cellars dry and plumbing from backing up.

Everett's Public Works Department is promoting the projects, even paying for them. Hoping interest in thegardens will grow, the city will subsidize up to $2500 per home.

"They have spent some money up front to put these systems in, but compared to what they could be spending in liability, it's way cheaper in the long run," said Derek Hann of the Snohomish County Conservation District. 

Case in point, the city shelled out nearly a million dollars for that 2010 storm in Laura White's neighborhood. "I don't ever want to go through that again," she said. "That was traumatic."

Since installing seven rain gardens in North Everett, the neighborhood hasn't flooded once -- including Laura's place.  The rain garden she tends to now provides more than just a place to relax. "It's a huge peace of mind."

Several communities are subsidizing rain gardens in certain flood prone neighborhoods. For more information check out these links. http://www.12000raingardens.org/ http://www.everettwa.org/default.aspx?ID=1648