Greening Capitol Project now in use

Published: Aug. 3, 2012 at 5:56 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2012 at 9:41 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Many of us know how much storm water runoff can pollute places like the James River. Now, several projects in and around the State Capitol grounds are working to reduce that type of pollution.

Underneath the fountain, there is a new filtering system that is changing the way this water is gathered.

"When a heavy rain came went directly to the James River, now we hold it here," said Tony Griffin who is the deputy chief of Maintenance and Operations for the Department of General Services.

Before, the city's drinking water was used to fill the fountain, now when it rains much of the water drains into an 8,000 gallon tank.

There are other uses.

"We can use it for watering plants, cleaning sidewalks, whatever we want to do with the water," he added.

This is part of project called, Greening Virginia's Capitol. The goal is to reduce the amount of storm runoff that ultimately pollutes our waterways. This greening project extends beyond Capitol Square into parts of downtown.

On 9th Street, a rain garden changes the way our sidewalks look.

Before this system was built, storm water runoff would actually go into Richmond's sewer system. But now with this garden, the plants actually work as a filter that can absorb any water pollutants and any litter that would go into the drain.

Sustainability can also be found in the city's alleyways. A porous paving system makes this the "first green alley" in the city. It's reducing and treating storm water runoff.

The work doesn't end there.

"You're going to see the more and more through the city as we work on our sustainability goal for the City of Richmond, " said Bob Steidel, the director of Public Utilities.

The project was made possible through an $800,000 grant from funds given to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

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