The CGMC Summer Conference provided a perfect opportunity for the City of Owatonna to share some of its innovacative stormwater control projects with other CGMC members.  In 2008, the MPCA awarded the city a low-impact development grant to implement infrastructure designed to improve and reduce the rate of stormwater run-off.  Our tour, hosted by Stormwater Manager Matt Durand, visited two projects funded by the grant as well as an innovative rain barrel collection system.

We visited the Rose St. Rain Garden, which is located between several parking lots that were built with slopes to drain the water toward the garden.  The garden contains low-maintenance native vegetation and flowers over layers of filtration material that capture and slow down run-off.

Members also visited a series of porous pavement alleys for a demonstration of how different paving surfaces handle run-off.  The city is conducting a three-year test to see how alleys paved with porous concrete and porous asphalt and with filtration underneath perform compared to standard impervious pavement.  You can see a demonstration of these alleys here.

Finally, we visited several large-scale rain barrels that the city constructed to capture rainwater off of public buildings.  City staff designed these larger than normal barrels to collect rainwater that would otherwise go into the stormwater system.  An attached pump allows the local group that waters the town’s hanging baskets to use this water, rather than relying on water out of the city’s system.

As the state imposes tougher stormwater standards on cities, innovative projects such as these can help cities meet their regulatory requirements.  During the tour, Mr. Durand emphasized that moving a city forward with these types of projects requires the support of city mayors and council members.

You can learn more about the work that Owatonna has done by visiting their website or by emailing Mr. Durand at  The MPCA also provides some information on these types of projects and available funding here.