Metropolitan Community College has partnered with the city of Omaha’s Stormwater Program to create two bioretention gardens on its Fort Omaha Campus.
Addie Kinghorn, Division Chair and Horticulture Instructor at Metro, says a bioretention garden is similar to a rain garden in that the college is harvesting runoff water. She says the difference is that Metro is not harvesting water off the roof but rather off the concrete parking lot.
The water is collected and then run through four filters to take away oils, grease and other pollutants before it is used to water the gardens. Additionally, Kinghorn says the bioretention gardens have access to the sewer system.
"If it floods, if it fills up from rain and is there from over 24 or 36 hours, then there’s a pipe there that will open up to carry the excess water down into the sewer system.”
Kinghorn says the bioretention gardens, full of native plants, serve as a teaching tool for Metro’s horticulture program. She says the gardens are also a tool to educate the community on ways to manage stormwater runoff.