Berlin West Street Retrofit

What is polluted runoff?

Parts of the Chesapeake Bay watershed contain a high percentage of impervious cover – paved or other hard surfaces such as roofs and roadways that prevent rain water from being absorbed into the ground.  Instead, water runs along these surfaces, collecting trash and substances such as motor oil, lawn fertilizers, and pesticides.  This polluted stormwater flows into streams and rivers, where it threatens aquatic ecosystems and public health.  

Effective stormwater management, on the other hand, creates safe paths for polluted runoff to be captured and filtered through the ground before it reaches waterways.  This helps keep the environment clean and our communities healthy!

bioretention / rain gardens
before image
The old culvert flooded during storm events. Credit: Jane Kreiter, Town of Berlin.
after image
The new culvert and stream channel have alleviated flooding. Credit: Jane Kreiter, Town of Berlin.


Project location: Berlin, MD

Problem:  Berlin had been experiencing significant stormwater problems at a busy intersection in the heart of downtown.  The area was prone to erosion and flooding, putting both businesses and residences at risk.  In addition, poorly-managed stormwater conveyed pollutants to Trappe Creek, a tributary of Newport Bay.

Solution:  Using a combination of federal, state and local funding, Berlin installed a new subsurface culvert to divert water under the street to bioretention cells that absorb the water and filter out pollutants and sediment.  The new system effectively manages stormwater, and native plantings in the bioretention cells have beautified the area.  The project was made possible in part by voluntary stormwater fees paid by town residents and businesses, a model that has subsequently been adopted by neighboring communities.

Scale: 200 linear foot culvert treating runoff from 4.17 acres

Cost: $160,000

Funding sources:  Federal Emergency Management Agency; MD Department of Natural Resources; Town of Berlin stormwater utility fee

Partners: MD Department of Natural Resources; Town of Berlin


Contact Information
Jane Kreiter | | 410-641-3845
Key project facts
Project Type
Project Scale
$100,000 - $249,999
Story Focus
Environmental Benefits
Community Engagement
Business Partnerships
Stormwater Funds
Problem Addressed
Failing Infrastructure
Flooding / Drainage
Runoff Pollution
Year Installed
State Legislative District
Federal Legislative District