CRWA in the News
CDC takes the grassroots route for a greener Allston-Brighton
By Pat B. Tarantino
Allston/Brighton TAB, Friday July 24,2009
Allston, Mass. - As summer moves into full swing, Allston-Brighton residents are looking for new ways to go green.
Thirty members of the Allston Brighton Green Space Advocates, Charles River Watershed Association, Allston-Brighton Community Development Corporation and residents met last week on Wednesday at the Penniman Road Playground in Allston to discuss new ways to protect the environment and beautify the neighborhood.
The project is part of a continued effort to educate residents on simple ways to improve the environment locally.
“Although the city of Boston is trying to go green by passing laws to encourage energy-efficient housing, there’s a grassroots level where people can make a difference person to person, house to house,” said Tamara Daly, Green Space Advocate vice president.
The open-air meeting covered several simple ways for individuals to regulate both their water and electrical use.
David Holtzman, a representative of the Advocates, offered those in attendance a chance to borrow a Kill-a-Watt, a small device used to monitor the amount of electricity individual appliances use in a household.
“This is an easy way to get a better idea of just how much power plugged-in appliances can drain over the course of a day,” said Holtzman.
Pallavi Mande, a representative of the Charles River Watershed Association, introduced those in attendance to the basic design behind a rain garden, a small trench cut into a lawn that catches excess rainwater and uses it to irrigate the surrounding foliage.
Because the surrounding lawn slowly seeps up the water caught in the trench, it minimizes yard work and water usage.
“With projects like these, everyone can do their own small part to help the city at large,” Mande said.
Holtzman encouraged the rain garden idea, suggesting that the runoff water would otherwise pose an environmental risk.
“One of the major problems in cities is that rainwater runs from the streets into the river, bringing with it oil and grease that pollutes the water,” said Holtzman.
Matt Houde, a professional landscaper and Green Space Advocate, gave a presentation on the construction of a rain barrel that collects stormwater running off buildings, allowing homeowners to water their lawns with water that would otherwise fill the streets.
The design involves a large plastic barrel with a spigot fixed near the base and a number of holes are drilled into the top to catch additional water. A hose connecting to a second spigot located near the top of the barrel channels water from a buildings gutter system into the collection area.
“It’s a very low-cost project that anyone can do,” said Houde, who received the barrel from a nearby carwash and purchased the two fixtures needed from a local hardware store.
District 9 City Councilor Mark Ciommo and state Rep. Kevin Honan also made appearances. “It’s really important for us to encourage sustainable efforts like these in our communities,” said Ciommo.