Swampy Georgia Ave – This Can’t Be Good, Right?

I think someone may have brought this up once in a rant/revel post but I finally saw what they were talking about. This is on Georgia Ave just south of Taylor. I imagine this is gonna breed millions of mosquitos. If this is indeed a flaw – anyone know which DC government agency should fix it?

21 Comment

  • Looks like a rain garden to help stem excessive stormwater drainage. Presumably, the ground absorbs the water before mosquitoes have a chance to use it.

  • They should do this in more places instead of having the usual curb and gutter drainage system. One of the largest sources of pollution to the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay is stormwater runoff, which contains every kind of contaminant you can imagine. The degree to which this runoff can be siphoned off and filtered naturally through the ground and plants that will absorb it reduces pollution significantly to our magnificent water bodies.

  • Yep – as anon and Kent said – these are rain gardens.
    As to what agency should fix them – lets hope they don’t need fixing.
    Seattle did this in one neighborhood – and now are spending $500K to rip them out (http://www.kplu.org/post/seattle-removes-rain-gardens-ballard). I hope DC doesn’t have to do the same thing – somehow I am not optimistic.

  • It’s a wetland. Stat get someone from the EPA there quickly to protect it!

  • Agreed that it’s working as designed, but if I lived there I’d toss a couple of mosquito dunks into it when there’s water there.

  • So long as it was constructed properly, with the appropriate types of drainage fill underneath, mosquitoes won’t be a problem. Eggs will get laid, but it’ll dry up before they can hatch.

  • Agreed, it is working as it should. And given a few growing seasons will look a lot more natural.

    Also, water in a bioretention feature should not stick around long enough to allow mosquitos to breed. No need for mosquito dunks. Some info from: http://www.vdh.state.va.us/epidemiology/DEE/Vectorborne/mosquitofaq.htm

    “If the water stands for less than a week it will not breed mosquitoes. Only one species of mosquito (the dark rice-field mosquito) can complete its aquatic life cycle in less than seven days. It is not a common mosquito, and it would probably not lay eggs in a puddle that would dry up so quickly. Most mosquito species require standing water for a minimum of 10 to 14 days to complete their development. Puddles that stand for less than a week are not worthy of concern.”

    • Thanks, that’s good to know. The mosquitos made my front porch unusable last year, so I’m keeping my eyes peeled for standing water this year.

  • It’s probably filled with tightly packed construction clay underneath and can’t drain….

    • Unlikely – this was very intentionally designed as a bioretention area, which means they did would have done perk tests and modified the subgrade to allow adequate infiltration. This was not just some dude dumping a bunch of mulch in his front yard.

      This whole thread highlights the need for widespread education of sustainable technology and practices, so people can recognize when something is working as is should and when it is broken. If people have a problem with its aesthetics, then that’s a fair point, but there seems to be a lot of cynicism that isn’t necessarily warranted. Anyone remember what this stretch of Georgia looked like before the brick sidewalks, seating and art? Overall this is a very nice improvement.

  • Thanks, Davester, for recognizing that wetlands need to be protected. With better care of our environment, perhaps we can reverse global warming, making cooler winters, providing the killing frosts to reduce our mosquito population that’s projected to be excessively high this year thanks to global warming, which this rain garden, in it’s own very small way, can help to reduce.

  • I agree with Kent and everyone else here! I love that they put this in. We recently buried the downspout extension for our house (the black plastic hose to push water away from the house. It exits in a little scooped out bowl in the middle of our flower garden…our own personal rain garden. It’s also nice to have this because you can grow plants that like more water – usually I only plant very drought tolerant stuff here.

  • This thread is a perfect example as to why I love PoP. Thanks for all the info, everyone! Learn something new everyday… 🙂

  • BTW, one of the major mosquito breeding grounds in urban environs is the cachement basins that typically collect any runoff coming down the gutters. They are actually designed with a gas trap, meaning, just like your toilet, there is always a pool of standing water in it.

    We just usually don’t consider these areas since they are out of sight, out of mind under their manhole covers. However, this summer, I double dog dare everyone reading this to go disturb a cachement basin by jamming a stick down there. Immediately, a swarm of mosquitoes will erupt from the opening.

    The good thing about a bio retention pond is that the water is not always there, only after big storms, other species like frogs, birds and bats congregate nearby and eat some of the mosquitoes (more than would be the case with cachement basins at least).

    So enjoy the new facility, and please educate anyone who isn’t aware of the benefits of this system, we’ll be getting a lot more of these soon.

  • In the past, the Department of Health’s West Nile Virus team has provided treatment of catchbasins, storm sewers and other areas of standing water. I think they use Mosquito Dunk type of treatment. You can call them about specific sites on 202-535-2323. You can also alert them to problems on private property. They have the ability to investigate, warn, and fine the property owners. I like to call them at the start of their season, which is generally the third week of May. I can only hope they are providing this service again this year.

  • Definitely a rain garden. And one that will likely be quite nice too look at as those plants mature.

    If it’s done right they’ve used a highly absorbent soil mix (probably one that is sandy) so it will rapidly drain that water that flows in.

  • could it be DDOE?

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