BMP quality program

The Best Management Practice (BMP) Program has been developed to provide financial assistance for property owners to install BMPs pertaining to stormwater quality. The program is intended to help cover the costs of materials such as plantings, dirt, rock, pavement, and contractor labor used to install such practices. The goals of the program are to improve the quality of stormwater runoff and reduce the amount of pollutants entering the City’s storm sewer system and Iowa City’s waterways.

Projects may range from rain gardens and bio-retention cells to rain barrels and pervious pavement. The program has a limited amount of funds and the reimbursement amount will be based on the available funding at that time.

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Rain gardens

A rain garden is a basin filled with plants and grasses, located in an area that allows water from urban surfaces such as streets, sidewalks, and driveways to be absorbed into the rain garden, rather than to flow into storm drains. Using native plants is preferred because they require less fertilizer, and are more tolerant of native climate, soil, and water conditions.

Iowa rain garden manual

Rain garden how-to manual

Rain garden plants

Rain barrels

Having a rain barrel connected to your downspout is a great way to save rainwater for use in your garden, or on house plants. It benefits the environment by reducing the amount of water entering the stormwater system, and is better for plants because it is naturally softened with minerals. It saves you money on your water bill, too!

Redirect drain spouts

If you aim your drain spouts toward paved areas, such as the street or driveway, large volumes of water containing rooftop contaminants empty straight into our storm drains. Instead, aim your downspouts toward areas of vegetation such as grass or a garden. This will allow the soil to filter out some of the pollutants, as well as slow down the flow of water into the waterways. 

Pervious pavement

Typical pavements, such as concrete and asphalt, do not allow water to flow through. Pervious pavement allows the passage of water. By allowing water to pass through, the natural ground cover below is able to filter out many of the contaminants such as oil and anti-freeze, common to streets and parking lots. The amount of stormwater run-off is also reduced because much of the water is absorbed by the natural ground cover.  

For more information, visit www.perviouspavement.org