Clean Water Community Healing Project

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
Bioretention system and tree planting in progress. Credit: Blue Water Baltimore
after image
Conservation landscaping forms a healing garden. Credit: Blue Water Baltimore


Project Location: Baltimore City, MD

Problem: The 30-acre MedStar Harbor Hospital campus sits on the banks of the Patapsco River adjacent to a public recreational trail in a hyper-urban setting with impervious surfaces covering 18 acres. Every year roughly 20 million gallons of stormwater runoff is discharged directly into the river adding to pollutant totals and water quality issues.

Solution: The hospital’s green team and partners developed a green infrastructure master plan to reduce the impact of polluted water on environmental and public health. Bioretention systems were chosen as the most cost effective, attractive and educational solution that would meet the property’s environmental goals as well. This project treats five acres of runoff from impervious surfaces and, with the addition of trees and conservation landscaping, hospital patients and visitors have access to a healing garden that promotes recovery and relaxation. Educational signage incorporated at this highly visible public facility increases awareness about stormwater runoff, green infrastructure and the direct connections between climate change, pollution, and public health and safety. Residents directly downstream also now have access to additional green space and improved local water quality. The project planning, design and installation employed the services of roughly 30 individuals and will employ even more for the ongoing maintenance.

Project Size: 14,443 sq ft

Total Cost: $1,455,066

Funding Sources: Chesapeake Bay Trust, MD Department of Natural Resources, EPA Chesapeake Bay Program

Partners: MedStar Harbor Hospital; Blue Water Baltimore; Plisko Sustainable Solutions, LLC; Neighborhood Design Center; CityScape Engineering; Rain Underground

Contact Information
Ashley Traut | | 410-254-1577
Key project facts
Project Type
Project Scale
> $1,000,000
Story Focus
Environmental Benefits
Environmental Education
Stormwater Funds
Problem Addressed
Runoff Pollution
Year Installed
State Legislative District
Federal Legislative District
MD 2nd