Why Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI)

ECOSS helps homeowners, churches and community spaces install GSI tools like rain gardens and cisterns to help reduce polluted runoff (aka stormwater).

During heavy storms, stormwater can back up and flood homes, cause sewer overflows, erode stream banks, and pollute vital salmon habitat, shellfish beds and our swimming beaches.

In Seattle, sewer overflows occur hundreds of times per year. As a result, stormwater is Puget Sound’s leading source of pollution.

Learn more about GSI

Co Lam Pagoda Temple

The temple is a gathering space for Seattle’s Vietnamese Buddhist community with about 100 members visiting regularly. On big holidays like Tet Vietnamese New Year and the Quan Am Festival, thousands visit the space. The temple offers a youth summer program, Vietnamese language classes to preserve culture, funeral ceremonies and a meeting place for the Lion Dance Committee.

The temple provides a green space to relax in an otherwise grey neighborhood in the Rainier Valley. Terraces line the property, with gardens, statues and scriptures scattered throughout.

With such large garden terraces, irrigation is necessary for plants to thrive, so rainwater is a priority for the temple.


GSI Demonstration Site

ECOSS led the project and approached the temple in 2016 about installing cisterns to store rainwater for watering and reduce flooding. The Boeing Company provided the funds for the installation with support from The Nature Conservancy.

Master An, was excited about the GSI project because the temple values harvesting water from Mother Nature and the small garden included in the plan adds to the beautiful environment.

Since the temple is run by donations, the reduced water bill and savings on property taxes through stormwater facility credits would provide valuable savings. The cisterns also create a safer environment by storing rainwater that might otherwise flood the market stand and parking lot in the winter.

Spotlight on Tom Le, project contractor

Tom Le of Sky Landscaping Services, is a Vietnamese RainWise-certified contractor. As a member of the temple, he is knowledgeable about the community’s needs and worked closely with Master An and ECOSS to ensure the project was a fit for everyone.

Tom refitted the gutters and installed five cisterns and the temple can now harvest valuable rainwater. ECOSS supported Tom in making budget proposals and writing contracts, helping him expand his company. Tom believes the cistern project will be a great example to show visitors the benefits of GSI.

picture collage of the cisterns

The five cisterns at the temple capture over 38,000 gallons of stormwater per year!