The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is will be announcing a new incentive program for District of Columbia residents this spring, the RiverSmart Rebate Program. In addition to the popular RiverSmart Homes program, the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), in partnership with the Alliance, is implementing an additional approach to help lessen the impact of stormwater runoff on the District’s waterways.

Stormwater is simply rainwater that, rather than remaining on the land where it falls, flows off of the 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.

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The Alliance and DDOE are encouraging District property owners to use rain gardens, permeable pavers, and other practices to control non-point sources of pollution, specifically stormwater running off of their properties.Through the RiverSmart Rebate program, District property owners may receive a rebate of up to $1000 for the installation of a rain garden, permeable pavers, or the removal of impervious surface from their property. Rebate awards are based on square footage of the project, with a minimum project size of 400 square feet.Homeowners may complete the project as a do-it-yourself (DIY) job or may hire a participating contractor to perform the work.Homeowners will be responsible for completing a project planning phase online as well as submitting all necessary paperwork.[/five_sixth][one_full ][imageframe ] The RiverSmart Rebate program is set to launch in early spring.Stay tuned for more information  on the Alliance website.