Pawtucket uses nature to take on stormwater challenges
The City of Pawtucket, like many Rhode Island communities, is facing challenges in how it manages stormwater runoff. Most pressing are the need to eliminate polluted runoff, replace aging “grey” stormwater system components, and reduce flooding.

Pawtucket’s Department of Public Works (DPW) is responsible for meeting these challenges in but understands that the most effective and least expensive way to do so is in strong partnership with the public. as a first step in this partnership, the city has developed its Stormwater Quality Master Plan, which will help answer a couple essential questions:
  • How much polluted runoff is discharged to water resource areas?
  • Where can nature-based solutions for managing this runoff be implemented and how much will it cost?
As mentioned, solutions will need to involve Pawtucket residents. The final phase of the Master Plan is a promotional campaign intended to educate residents and property owners as to how they contribute to water quality challenges, and highlight ways they can work with DPW to reduce their impact. DPW has begun to deliver this message through a variety of media, one of which is this awesome video:
Pawtucket DPW - Free Programs for Residents and Businesses

While these measures will help for sure, more still will need to be done. Public funding of stormwater management programs will need to increase in the future in order to meet Pawtucket's obligations. The city can reduce polluted runoff and defray some of these costs, though, if those who watch the video or obtain a rain barrel become inspired to learn and do more to reduce pollution themselves.

Pawtucket residents are encouraged to reach out to the DPW when they’re ready to start working together to help. Why not start with a rain barrel?

Interested in getting a rain barrel? For more information, please contact Andrew Silvia at Pawtucket DPW.

The Green Infrastructure Coalition is a collaborative of more than 40 non-profit organizations, businesses, and government agencies focused on using nature to reduce stormwater pollution. We develop projects to demonstrate the powerful role nature can play to create healthier urban environments. We promote policies to create sustainable funding for stormwater management and green infrastructure solutions. And we connect a wide range of partners to share lessons learned in the Providence Metro area and Aquidneck Island.
Lauren Carson is a Campaign Organizer at Clean Water Fund. CWF is a member of the Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition.
RI-GIC Website