- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) - Columbus officials are moving ahead with a pilot project to test whether rain gardens reduce street flooding.

Under the project, the gardens would be installed on three large street islands that serve as intersection medians in a flood-prone central Columbus neighborhood, according to the Columbus Telegram (https://bit.ly/1YrqCIX ).

They would contain street runoff during storms, remove water contaminants and beautify the medians, city engineer Rick Bogus said Monday while explaining the project to the City Council’s Public Property, Safety and Works Committee. The gardens are designed to hold water only temporarily so they don’t serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes during the summer.

“This will not solve the entire issue” of street flooding, Bogus said, but it could improve drainage during lighter rains.

Each island garden would include rocks and large trees to protect them from motorists during the winter, varying vegetation and a depressed area that would collect runoff. An overflow feature allows the islands to be drained into the stormwater system.

The city will install the rain gardens for the pilot project only if neighborhood residents are willing to maintain the islands.

Money from annual state stormwater grants would help cover the expenses, with local matches from the city.

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Information from: Columbus Telegram, https://www.columbustelegram.com

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