A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A rainwater swale does double duty

Written October 9th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

Who says those rainwater collection swales in modern parking lots are a waste of good space? Look closer, and you see that one of them at least now grows something you can pick.

This particular swale is in the parking lot at Albany Fred Meyer. The company rebuilt the lot two or three years ago and added those features at the time.

They are intended to collect storm water and let it seep into the ground slowly. It’s a way to keep parking lot pollution from getting into the city’s storm water collection system and thus into our streams every time it rains.

The swales usually contain some vegetation. This one, though, has sprouted a tomato plant in addition, or maybe more than one. Whether this was intentional I don’t know. Or maybe a shopper spilled some ripe tomatoes there in the spring, and the seeds planted themselves.

In any case, maybe this points the way for people interested in sustainability above everything else. Maybe all those newly required storm water collection facilities can be made to serve an additional function. Maybe they can produce an annual crop.(hh)

Not quite ripe yet, but give them a few more days of sunshine.


One response to “A rainwater swale does double duty”

  1. Bill Kapaun says:

    I’d be concerned about all the chemicals that drip off of cars. Anti freeze & such.


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