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Prospect collects storm water from roof in cisterns

Prospect UCC in Seattle included on Palm Sunday a celebration of installing new cisterns, taking advantage of RainWise rebates to promote clean water, said the pastor Meighan Pritchard.

At the Palm Sunday dedication, contractor Mars Simpson, pastor Meighan Pritchard and Prospect folks Caitlin Jones, Justice Leadership intern Leda Zakarison and Brian Russell show off one of two cisterns.            Photo courtesy of Meighan Pritchard

As part of the event, King County’s RainWise staff shared information about the RainWise programs goals, impact and how to participate.  Earth Alchemist, the contractor who installed the churches’ cisterns offered insight on this installation and use of the water stored in cisterns. 

The installation, said Sonja Sivesind of RainWise, is “a milestone to control one of the largest sources of pollution in Puget Sound.”

This is the latest in a series of community projects. RainWise Program partnered with Prospect UCC Church to install two 865-gallon cisterns to catch and hold roof water.

Prospect UCC’s cisterns will capture runoff from 3,230 square feet of roof area, keeping 12,700 gallons of stormwater out of the combined sewer system, Sonja said.

“Prospect UCC members are excited to have two cisterns as tangible evidence of our willingness to walk the talk about caring for our environment,” said Meighan. “We talk about environmental justice and climate change and are pleased to be taking this step to mitigate stormwater runoff in our community.

“The people in the RainWise program and our contractor made this process easy. We hope the RainWise program will continue to be able to serve Seattle in this way for as long as is needed,” she said.

The RainWise Program now has more than 1,400 participants. By channeling stormwater runoff from more than 40 acres of impervious rooftops to green infrastructure facilities, such as rain gardens or cisterns, these properties are keeping 20 million gallons of runoff out of the combined stormwater/sewer system, and controlling overflows in local water bodies during heavy rains, Sonja explained.

Prospect UCC urges other faith organizations, businesses, neighbors and community organizations in eligible basins to take advantage of the program. Private property owners in the Montlake and Capitol Hill neighborhoods and others in Seattle, are eligible for RainWise rebates that may cover up to 100 percent of the cost to install a cistern or rain garden.

“Besides beautifying landscapes, rain gardens help control stormwater, a significant source of pollution in Lake Washington, Puget Sound, Lake Union and the Duwamish River,” Sonja said.

“By controlling stormwater, people can support the city and county goals to control overflows of sewage and stormwater that occur in these waterways during heavy rains,” she added.

RainWise is a joint program of Seattle Public Utilities and King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division. More than 50,000 properties in Seattle are eligible for RainWise rebates.

For information, call 206-322-6030 or visit


Pacific Northwest United Church News © April-May 2018

Pacific NW United Church Conference News April 2018 - Prospect UCC in Seattle installs two cisterns to receive storm water from the church's roof


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