Next time you head downtown to check out the latest exhibit at the Peoria Riverfront Museum or to catch a movie in the giant-screen theater, take a moment to view one of the building’s lesser-known attractions. Located outside on the lower level of the property, in the corner of the sculpture garden, is what looks like a miniature waterfall. In reality, it’s a functioning bioswale — a working example of the kind of green infrastructure we plan to install across Peoria to reduce stormwater runoff and address combined sewer overflow (CSO) issues.

Built on one city block in the CSO area of Peoria, the Riverfront Museum meets its stormwater management requirements through a combination of gray and green solutions. That includes the bioswale, a waterfall into an area of gravel and native plantings that handles stormwater runoff responsibly and beautifully. As stormwater flows off impervious surfaces near the museum — like sidewalks and parking areas — the bioswale helps, collect, slow and absorb the water, then filters it of pollutants before it enters our waterways.

Another green way the museum is addressing wet weather issues? Lawns on the property include buffalo grass, a native plant that requires no irrigation or cutting. That means no excess water or grass clippings get sent into Peoria’s sewer system.