At a Glance

By utilizing “green infrastructure,” the City of Toledo will reduce the impacts of its combined sewer system while improving water quality and generating public awareness of the benefits of natural systems.

Project Description

About 20 percent of Toledo, Ohio is served by a system where sewage and stormwater are carried through the same pipe. Under normal conditions, this does not present a problem, as both sewage and stormwater are treated at the wastewater treatment plant. However, in the event of heavy rainfall, the system becomes overloaded. Stormwater mixes with sewage and overflows into area waterways and sometimes backs up into residents’ homes.

The Maywood Avenue Stormwater Volume Reduction pilot project uses natural systems, or “green infrastructure,” to help reduce the volume of stormwater entering the combined sewer system and improve water quality. The Maywood Avenue neighborhood features demographics and physical components typical of the well-established, older urban neighborhoods around Toledo. The street has 66 lots, 46 of which have homes.

This project, led by Tetra Tech, Inc., with assistance from American Rivers and Biohabitats, retrofits the residential street right-of-way with green infrastructure practices. Bioretention swales were created within tree lawns; sidewalks were replaced with permeable pavement; and rain gardens and rain barrels were installed on private lots. Biohabitats led design of the bioswales, including sizing, soils and materials specifications, and planting plans.

Monitoring of the project will help to determine its success in reducing runoff to the combined sewer system. If successful, it will be used as a model and template for retrofitting streets throughout Toledo.



Great Lakes

Physiographic Province

Huron-Erie Lake Plains


Lower Maumee River

Expertise Areas

Infrastructure, Urban Ecology


City of Toledo


Toledo, Ohio, United States

Project Team
  • Tetra Tech, Inc.
  • American Rivers