Pataskala City Council on Feb. 22 approved a preliminary agreement with the Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District to construct a rain garden in Foundation Park.

Pataskala City Council on Feb. 22 approved a preliminary agreement with the Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District to construct a rain garden in Foundation Park.

The intent is to capture rooftop runoff from one of the shelter houses.

Planning and zoning director Dianne Harris said the city's wastewater treatment permit requires various community-outreach efforts, and stormwater regulations require that runoff be detained for 48 hours, to reduce peak flow into creeks and to recharge groundwater.

The soil-water district would design the project, Harris said.

"It would allow them to plan, design and construct a demonstration rain garden," she said. "They've identified Foundation Park as the ideal location to do this. The rain garden will be fed by the roof drainage from the roof of one of the shelter houses."

Council member Dan Hayes asked if retained water would be a source of such pests as mosquitoes.

Harris said the EPA did not include that as a reason to not use rain gardens as best practices. She said many small projects such as garage construction have small detention basins to capture rain runoff.

"Rain gardens are a best-management practice identified by EPA to help reduce stormwater runoff and reduce pollution in our streams," Harris said.

The garden would be used as an education focal point to show the public how storm water affects the ecosystem.

"This accomplishes a couple of things for (EPA and the soil-water district), in terms of their mission, but it also helps the city accomplish some of the requirements we have to meet in satisfying our NPDES (national pollutant-discharge elimination system) permit," Harris said. "We would organize an educational seminar and demonstration that day (of planting) so people could watch them do the planting and hear about why you do it. Then maybe we can have a gardening group step up and do the long-term care."

Harris said the garden would be planted with native Ohio plants that thrive in dry and wet environments.

"A rain garden is basically a bowl, a detention basin, rather than a mound that you would see in a flower garden," Harris said. "Except for that, it is basically a flower garden."

The purpose of the gardens is to reduce flooding and peak flow and to capture pollutants associated with buildings and roadways.

"The intent is to capture the first flush of rainfall and hold it long enough for the pollutants and the sediments to settle out in location and then slowly disburse the water back into groundwater," Harris said. "That is more desirable than what is done currently, which is shoot it into a pipe and then a bigger pipe and then a bigger pipe before it is discharged into the creek, which creates a large volume of water that can create erosion and flooding downstream."

In other business, council approved a motion to allow Civil War re-enactors to conduct an overnight encampment on Memorial Day at the municipal park or Veterans Memorial, including an honor guard and 21-gun salute.