Meet your Chicagoland Stormwater Storage Requirements with a rain garden!

Splash boxx: Rain Gardens in Roll-Off Containers

Splash boxxI love creative, practical, simple ideas, especially when it comes to improving our stormwater runoff.

That is why when my friends David Hymel and Marilyn Jacobs showed me their new creation I knew I had to write a post about it and share it with all of you.

It’s called the Splash boxx; and it is a portable rain garden!

In this post, I will be interviewing David and Marilyn to find out the details on this awesome approach to stormwater quality improvement.


Your name, company name, location, years in business?

David Hymel, Marilyn Jacobs, Splash Boxx LLC, Gig Harbor WA, 2 years in business.

What is the splash boxx?

Splash Boxx is a vertical-walled, 12′ x 8′ bioretention planter box, constructed of steel and painted with non-toxic paint, which accommodates a profile of aggregate (with underdrain), bioretention soil, vegetation, and live storage (ponding) to promote the detention and filtration of stormwater runoff.

Splash boxx Rainfall

How do you make a Splash boxx?

Splash Boxxes are locally fabricated out the same materials that are used to make steel roll off containers.

Splash boxx Build

How did you come up with the idea?

We were looking for a way to create a rain garden like device that would work in small industrial environment and would be portable. We had seen examples of bioretention boxes, but all were constructed out of concrete. We thought combining portability and steel construction would create a device that would have much more flexibility and utility.

Splashboxx Loading

How long have you been installing these?

Our first installation was January 2013.

How many are installed?

There are now three units installed. One at the Port of Tacoma and two at the Port of Seattle.

What are the main advantages of these systems?

Some of the benefits of the Boxx technology: they are pre engineered with modeling done to predict the amount of impervious surfaces that can be treated; above ground installation so that no excavation is required or the permits associated with near shore and similar; small footprint and easily relocated or replaced; connectable in series for large area treatment; provides water quality and flow control through outflow orifice reductions; established as an approved BMP, but can also be a delivery system for approved special media for water quality treatment.

Splashboxx Gravel

Who is purchasing these units/What is the target audience for this product?

The target audience are jurisdictions and property owners that have to treat large areas for polluted stormwater or need to reduce the rate that water is discharged into stormwater systems. Splash Boxx filters and slows down water. It would be ideally used in an industrial setting where the operator needs to meet industrial stormwater permits or in a city where it has to reduce overflows from it’s combined sewer overflow (CSO) system.

Splashboxx Site

What regulations is this product aimed at satisfying?

Splash Boxx aims to satisfy regulations that are derived from the enforcement of the federal Clean Water Act.

How much does a unit cost?

Unit cost is between $8500 and $9500. This is complete with piping, plants and media, delivered to site.

What is the lifespan of the Splash boxx?

The Splash Boxx container is expected to be about 30 years with normal maintenance. The lifespan of the planted material is variable.

What maintenance is involved with the Splash boxx?

Maintenance includes initial watering to ensure plant establishment. Check inflows and outflows to ensure they are not obstructed. Annual replenishment of mulch layer.

Splashboxx Planting

How much does the maintenance cost annually?

Variable depending on location and use.

Do you see them catching on beyond the Seattle area?

We see this technology initially useful and attractive to the several hundred jurisdictions and locations across the country where there are combined sewer overflows. Many of these are in the Great Lakes region, including Chicago.

Splashboxx TV

Anything you’d like to add?

You can watch a video on Splash boxx here, or find out more on the EcoBuilding Guild website.

If you enjoyed this article I would greatly appreciate it if you shared it below!

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