Berlin West Street Retrofit

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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!

The old culvert flooded during storm events. Credit: Jane Kreiter, Town of Berlin.
The new culvert and stream channel have alleviated flooding. Credit: Jane Kreiter, Town of Berlin.


Project location: Berlin, MD

Problem:  Berlin had been experiencing significant stormwater problems at a busy intersection in the heart of downtown.  The area was prone to erosion and flooding, putting both businesses and residences at risk.  In addition, poorly-managed stormwater conveyed pollutants to Trappe Creek, a tributary of Newport Bay.

Solution:  Using a combination of federal, state and local funding, Berlin installed a new subsurface culvert to divert water under the street to bioretention cells that absorb the water and filter out pollutants and sediment.  The new system effectively manages stormwater, and native plantings in the bioretention cells have beautified the area.  The project was made possible in part by voluntary stormwater fees paid by town residents and businesses, a model that has subsequently been adopted by neighboring communities.

Scale: 200 linear foot culvert treating runoff from 4.17 acres

Cost: $160,000

Funding sources:  Federal Emergency Management Agency; MD Department of Natural Resources; Town of Berlin stormwater utility fee

Partners: MD Department of Natural Resources; Town of Berlin


Contact information:

Jane Kreiter | | 410-641-3845

Contact email:


Key project facts

Project Type:
$100,000 - $249,999
Story Focus:
Environmental Benefits, Community Engagement, Business Partnerships
Stormwater Utility Funds:
Problem Addressed:
Aesthetics, Erosion, Failing Infrastructure, Flooding / Drainage, Runoff Pollution
Year Installed:
State Legislative District:
Congressional District: