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Spring Forward… and Catch the Return of DC’s Bloomingdale Rebate Program!

The RiverSmart Bloomingdale Rebate program is back and better than ever! Following the success of last year’s rebate program, the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) has once again partnered with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to coordinate stormwater rebate projects on residential properties across the Bloomingdale Sewershed (land area in which the sewer pipes drain to a single point) in Washington, DC.

These projects allow homeowners to reduce stormwater runoff from their properties by replacing impervious surfaces with pervious surfaces. Stormwater is rainwater that flows off of the land on which it falls, rather than remaining on site. Rainwater becomes stormwater when rain falls on impervious surfaces such as rooftops, driveways, roads, sidewalks and even lawns. As stormwater moves from our yards through storm drains to our streams, it picks up pollutants such as trash, oil, and grease from our roadways and driveways, nutrients from fertilizers on our lawns, and bacteria from pet waste and other animal excrement. Once in the stream, the fast-moving surges of water associated with storms cause erosion and destroy habitat for fish and other wildlife. In urban areas such as the District of Columbia, rain events may cause an overflow of the combined sewer system and result in untreated wastewater flowing directly into the local waterways, severely impairing the quality of the water.

The Alliance and DDOE encourage homeowners to retain as much stormwater as possible on their own properties through the Bloomingdale Rebate program as well as additional RiverSmart programs. These projects increase the amount of stormwater that infiltrates into the ground, not only reducing the volume of stormwater entering the District’s sewer system and waterways, but also helping to replenish groundwater supplies.

The Bloomingdale Rebate Program began as a pilot in 2014 and quickly grew into one of the most successful RiverSmart rebate programs to date. The program targets the Bloomindale Sewershed – an area that faces both a heightened risk of flooding and a higher percentage of impervious surfaces than other parts of the city. Offering $10 per square foot for projects replacing impervious surfaces with pervious pavers and $5 per square foot for replacement with vegetation, the Bloomingdale rebate provides homeowners with a significantly greater financial incentive for replacing hard surfaces than other rebate programs in the area.

In its first year alone, the Bloomingdale Rebate program led to a sharp increase in residential adoption of pervious paver projects, our most effective option for capturing and filtering stormwater. Over the course of the year, 25 projects were installed and over 17,500 square feet of concrete were converted to pervious pavement or green space – more than all previous rebate programs combined. As a result, the Bloomingdale Rebate program has been renewed for 2015 and incentives to homeowners have been increased.

Two key changes to the program in 2015 are expected to further increase homeowner participation. The previous $5,000 per property rebate cap has been removed. There is now no maximum rebate award limit. Additionally free pervious pavers, valued at $5 per square foot, are available to homeowners while supplies last.

This is a great opportunity to replace hard surfaces on your property. Don’t miss your chance to improve your outdoor experience at home, minimize your contribution to contaminants in our local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay, increase your property value, and learn more about how you can be a responsible member of your community and watershed.

For more information on the Bloomingdale Rebate program and other RiverSmart Rebate programs throughout the District, please contact Sarah Davidson (sdavidson@allianceforthebay.org)


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Laura Todd RiverSmart Program Coordinator, Maryland & DC Office

Laura is the Program Coordinator for the RiverSmart Homes program, coordinated in partnership with the DC Department of Energy and the Environment. She works on the permeable paver program.

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