Sussex Avenue Community Garden Demonstration Rain Garden

298 Sussex Avenue Garden
NJ 07107

Sussex Avenue Community Garden Demonstration Rain Garden

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The Sussex Avenue Community Garden rain garden was installed to intercept, treat, and infiltrate stormwater runoff from the site and the overflow from a 1,550 gallon cistern. This rain garden serves to beautify a vacant lot in Newark, New Jersey. According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection land use land cover data, over 85% of the City of Newark is considered impervious cover. As a result, sewer networks can become overwhelmed with stormwater runoff, causing localized flooding, combined sewer overflows, and ultimately a polluted Passaic River. To address the water quality issues associated with increased stormwater runoff, demonstration projects like this garden are essential.

Type of Runoff Managed:

This rain garden manages stormwater runoff from the community garden site and the overflow from a 1,550 gallon cistern.


This rain garden was excavated in November 2010 and planted in June 2011. The Sussex Avenue site is about 2,400 square feet, and the rain garden is approximately 100 square feet.

In November 2010, members of the Greater Newark Conservancy and participants in the Clean and Green: Newark's Transitional Jobs Program were trained in rain garden installation as part of a “green job” training workshop. As part of this workshop conducted by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, the participants excavated this rain garden by hand. Bank run sand and topsoil were added to improve the infiltration rate and soil nutrient capacity of the rain garden.

The Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program staff and undergraduate student interns, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Essex County, New Jersey Tree Foundation, and students from the Sussex Avenue School of Arts and Sciences assisted with the rain garden planting in June 2011. The rain garden planting supplemented the Stormwater Management in Your Schoolyard curriculum that was presented to the Sussex Avenue School of Arts and Sciences students over a nine-week period. All plant materials were supplied by Pinelands Nursery and Supply.

The New Jersey Tree Foundation taught an after-school club about the importance of trees for stormwater management and assisted the students with the planting of five trees on the site.

National/American Waterproofing installed a 1,550 gallon above ground cistern at the site and provided a rainwater harvesting educational workshop for the community. This cistern receives roof runoff from an adjacent house and provides water for the vegetable garden raised beds.

Approval to install the rain garden, trees, and cistern was granted by the City of Newark. The projects were funded through a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection 319(h) grant entitled “Environmental Justice for the City of Newark: Stormwater Education and BMP Implementation to Control Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Discharges.”

Plant List:

Black-eyed Susan
Blackhaw Viburnum
Blazing Star
Blue Lobelia
Grey Goldenrod
New England Aster
Purple Coneflower
Yellow False Indigo


This rain garden is maintained by the Greater Newark Conservancy and members of the surrounding community.


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After Installation

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