A series of rain gardens transformed 7-SIGMA's parking lot into a new model of stormwater management in Minneapolis.

Project Details

City: Minneapolis

Type: Action Grant

Status: Completed

Timeline: 2005

MWMO Funding: $25,000

Partners: 7 Sigma, Longfellow Business Association, Barr Engineering

Staff Contact:

Nancy Stowe
Projects and Outreach Director
Email Nancy Stowe
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In 2005, South Minneapolis manufacturing firm 7-SIGMA faced a dilemma. City regulations required the company to disconnect all of its roof drains from the sanitary sewer system and also to landscape a portion of its parking lot. Judy VanCleve, 7-SIGMA’s facilities manager, saw an opportunity to solve both problems by using native plant  landscaping to help manage stormwater on site.

The MWMO awarded a $25,000 grant to the Longfellow Business Association to help fund a project to rebuild 7-SIGMA’s parking lot. Barr Engineering designed a series of rain gardens capable of capturing and treating the stormwater runoff from 95 percent of the parking lot as well as a portion of the building. The new landscaping takes up only 20 percent of the parking lot, and proved capable of infiltrating stormwater at a much higher rate than the engineers had assumed in their design.

The $200,000 renovation project established a new local model for stormwater management on a commercial site. Minneapolis Blooms (now Metro Blooms) recognized 7-SIGMA with the 2005 Best Watershed Friendly Garden Award and a First Place Exceptional Award.