Collaborative effort finds creative use for stormwater runoff at NHC Arboretum

Updated: Jun. 26, 2019 at 4:03 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Stormwater runoff is being put to good use at the New Hanover County Arboretum.

Through a collaborative effort between the arboretum, the North Carolina Coastal Federation and NC State University’s Cooperative Extension Service, stormwater that comes off roofs and parking lots will no longer carry animal waste, motor oil and other water pollutants into the Bradley and Hewletts creeks watershed.

"When it rains, the rain has to go somewhere," said Ted Wilgis, coastal educator with the NC Coastal Federation. "It used to soak into the ground but now because of parking lots and houses and roofs — which we need — that water can't soak into the ground."

A large section of the arboretum grounds was excavated and a pipe and drainage system installed accommodate the stormwater runoff.

The engineered infiltration system located beneath the sandy soil will allow the water to slowly percolate into the ground, removing pollutants, improving the health of Bradley Creek and watering the plants that will soon be in the ground on the site.

On Thursday, the NC Coastal Federation and the NHC Arboretum co-hosted an event for community volunteers to plant native plants in the newly designed area. There will be two phases of planting until the area is filled with native plants.

"All these partners are coming together to work toward the common goal of water quality, public benefit and creating more beautiful spaces and habitat," Wilgis said.

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