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Disconnect your impervious surfaces
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Image courtesy Kate Longfield.

Every household contributes stormwater runoff from their property. Stormwater runoff gains speed as it moves over the landscape, thereby eroding land. This runoff also collects loose soil and pollutants from human developments and deposits them into waterways. There are many ways to reduce the speed and amount of stormwater on your property, which will allow the stormwater to infiltrate into your soil and recharge groundwater instead of causing erosion and corresponding pollution.

Reduce erosion on your property and downstream by installing a disconnection practice around the outside of your house or driveway.

Rain barrel

Rain barrels are most commonly used to capture rain water from the roof of a building that would otherwise drain onto an impervious surface like a walkway, driveway, or street. 


Rain barrels are positioned to receive roof runoff directly from a gutter. Rainwater is then filtered through a screen at the top of the barrel and stored for future watering. This system is typically used to address a portion of roof runoff and should be used in combination with other practices to diffuse stormwater onsite.

Reasons why a rain barrel is worth your time:

  • Rain barrels reduce water usage and save you money. They make it convenient for homeowners to water their gardens or wash windows with rainwater. During the summer months, having rainwater stored for your garden can be cost-effective, as it can reduce the amount of potable water used for watering and the associated cost.

  • Rain barrels reduce erosion. Instead of having water from your gutters carve away soil, allow that water to fill your rain barrels; the excess water will break against the barrels and spread out from there, minimizing erosion around your house.

  • Rain barrels reduce the amount of water that flows from your property into storm drains and into waterways, reducing water pollution in our rivers and lakes.

Infiltration trench

An infiltration trench is a rock-filled trench that intercepts runoff as it drains from an impervious surface like a roof, driveway, or walkway.


Infiltration trenches can be installed around the dripline of a house or on the downslope of a driveway (or other impervious feature). This area can be easily identified, dug out, and replaced with small rocks or stones, which allow stormwater to effectively infiltrate. Consider an infiltration trench system if you are experiencing erosion around the perimeter of an impervious surface, such as your house, shed, or driveway. 

For sites that do not have well-draining soil, an infiltration trench can still be used, but it is recommended to install a perforated pipe within your infiltration trench that will direct the collected water to a stable, vegetated area or another practice.


Here is how you can get started:​

  • Test your soil. ​Find out how well your soils drain by watching our Soil Testing at Home video and conducting a simple soil test.

  • Start to plan your infiltration trench. Refer to the VT Guide to Stormwater for Homeowners for instructions, materials, tools, maintenance, benefits, and limitations.

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