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Green Infrastructure

Alternative to Gray Infrastructure

According to the EPA, “green infrastructure” is defined as a cost-effective and resilient approach to management wet weather impacts. Green infrastructure, unlike gray infrastructure, which is designed for the single-purpose of moving water through a sewer system, is designed to treat rainwater at the source through enhanced infiltration.

Through a combination of vegetation, soils, engineered structures, and other elements, green infrastructure practices attempt to restore the natural function of the landscape and soil. Increased infiltration reduces the amount of stormwater runoff that is carried into the storm sewer.

In Iowa, Green infrastructure includes Rainscaping practices.  Most rainscapes are landscape practices that capture and infiltrate stormwater.

Rainscaping practices can be grouped into 2 types of practices, basic and engineered. Basic practices do not necessarily have to be designed by a professional engineer or landscape architect. Basic practices are suitable for homeowners and business owners alike. Engineered practices require a professional engineer to ensure that the practice is successful in infiltrating and treating stormwater. These types of practices are more commonly installed to treat drainage areas larger than a single family home.