Grace Lutheran Church has undertaken a major stormwater retention project. When the church was undergoing a large renovation project they wanted to capitalize on the fact that they would have a large portion of their lot torn up. How could they make the most of that to manage stormwater pollution? Ultimately their engineer and the City of Lancaster settled on a plan that would direct the runoff from half the church roof, the entire roof of the new addition, and part of the parking lot into a large underground basin. The rock basin - aptly named because of the large boulders through which surface runoff can enter -- collects stormwater from four large downspouts, directing roughly 2,600 gallons of stormwater away from the street’s drains during a typical 1" rainstorm. The underground basins won’t require maintenance for at least 15-20 years, and it removes a significant amount of stormwater from the city’s drainage system. The stormwater will be directed back down into the aquifer and will be filtered naturally by the Earth as it percolates through the rock basin and sand/soil layers.

The completed projects will soon be covered by pollinator gardens and the church is currently working towards a Sacred Grounds certification through Lancaster Conservancy. They have hosted bee hives, community raised bed gardens and utilize a number of volunteers to carry out recycling initiatives to help members recycle by using the church as a collection point for styrofoam, cardboard and other items not easily recycled in Lancaster's curbside program.

In addition to this, the church’s parsonage has had two 50-gallon rain barrels for several years already, harvesting rain water from the parsonage roof for watering plants or simply just putting it back into the ground instead of down the drain. They have also installed high efficiency boilers in 5 rental apartments for low income tenants to reduce energy consumption.

Check out their beautiful new waterfall feature in this video.

To learn more about Grace Lutheran Church, click here