ECOSS, Hope Academy and Alnoor Mosque are celebrating the first rain garden and cistern project at a mosque in Seattle and raising awareness about water quality.
The completion of this community teaching tool will be celebrated on Friday, November 20th, 11 am–1:30 pm, with festivities open to the public – including a ribbon cutting, garden tours and refreshments. While the primary goals of the project are environmental stewardship and flood prevention, this demonstration project also serves to educate students and community members.
The two rain gardens and four cisterns will divert rainwater from the large roof of the mosque (over 5500 sq. feet), keeping that water out of the combined sewer, which helps water quality downstream. It also provides both the Somali and White Center communities the opportunity to learn about and be involved with water quality solutions. Community members were also interested in resolving basement flooding issues from old downspouts around the historic brick building, as well as beautifying the landscape with flowers. High resolution photos of the project are available upon request.
For two years, ECOSS guided the mosque through the project by coordinating logistics, interpretation, troubleshooting issues such as old plumbing and drainage, teaching the students and staff about water topics, and engaging the community members in planning, plant selection, and work parties. The project was completed in June 2015 and the community is now developing a maintenance plan with teachers and students for regular checking, weeding and watering of the rain gardens.
“It’s been especially rewarding to have the community so involved in the project,” said King County Wastewater Treatment Division Director Pam Elardo. “We hope it inspires more young people to think about environmental career opportunities in the operations, science and technology fields.”
ECOSS collaborated with Seattle Public Utilities and King County on technical support, grants and RainWise rebates, which were provided by the City of Seattle. Additional funding was provided by the Russell Family Foundation and Google.
Hope Academy and Alnoor Mosque are located at 9421 18th Ave SW in the White Center neighborhood. The private school and mosque serves primarily Somali and other East African populations, although the mosque is open to all Muslims.
RainWise is a partnership program of Seattle Public Utilities and King County that offers rebates to property owners for rain gardens and cisterns which help to reduce polluted runoff and combined sewer overflows. A rain garden is a bowl shaped garden filled with spongy soil and hearty plants, designed to capture rainwater and cleans it before it enters our waterways or groundwater, and reduces the amount of water flowing into combined sewers or storm drains. Cisterns are large barrels that collects roof water, also reduce runoff, and the harvested water can be used for watering in the summer. To learn more visit www.700milliongallons.org.
Since 1994, ECOSS has engaged businesses and diverse communities with sustainable solutions for all on key environmental issues. ECOSS is the most effective organization in the region at engaging diverse communities in pollution prevention and other environmental solutions, with staff that speak 21 languages. ECOSS’ work revolves around working together to create a cleaner, healthier and economically thriving Puget Sound. Visit www.ecoss.org for more information.
West Seattle, Washington