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North Carolina’s Collaborative Project Team Awarded 2017 EPA Region 4 Rain Catcher Award

04/21/2017
Contact Information: 
Davina Marraccini (marraccini.davina@epa.gov)
404-562-8293, 404-562-8400

ATLANTA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded North Carolina’s Collaborative Project Team with the regional 2017 EPA Rain Catcher Award in the Community Category for the implementation of innovative stormwater infiltration projects in North Carolina. The awardees will be honored at a ceremony during the EPA Region 4/International Erosion Control Association Municipal Wet Weather Stormwater Conference in Charleston, S.C. on May 15, 2017.

In 2013, the North Carolina Coastal Federation and the National Estuarine Research Reserve developed a collaborative project team, including the Town of Wrightsville Beach, City of Wilmington, Department of Transportation, National Estuarine Research Reserve, N.C. Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources, N.C. Division of Coastal Management, N.C. Shellfish Sanitation Section, Cooperative Extension Service, N.C. Division of Soil and Water Conservation, UNC-Wilmington, the Blockade Runner Resort and professional consultants. From 2013 to 2017, the project team completed eight strategically chosen stormwater projects to decrease the transport of microbes to receiving waters by reducing the volume of surface runoff.

The stormwater projects included: re-grading landscaped areas to increase runoff infiltration; retrofitting curbs and installing reverse storm inlets to reduce roadway runoff and divert the runoff to grassed areas; redirecting flow from street drains to rain gardens; adding earthen check dams to roadside swales; retrofitting parking lot impervious surfaces with pervious concrete; using perforated pipe and infiltration chambers to redirect flow to infiltration areas; and incorporating a perforated pipe-infiltration system. The projects also included scientific testing to measure the effectiveness of stormwater reduction strategies to ensure they are successful, cost-effective and defensible.

The EPA Region 4 Rain Catcher Award recognizes excellence in the implementation of stormwater green infrastructure practices. Green infrastructure uses natural systems and/or engineered systems designed to mimic natural processes to more effectively manage stormwater and reduce receiving water impacts. EPA and its partner organizations have promoted the use of green infrastructure for many years as part of a comprehensive approach to achieving healthier waters. Green infrastructure reduces the volume of stormwater discharges by managing rainwater close to where it falls and removes many of the pollutants present in runoff, making it an effective strategy for addressing wet weather pollution and improving water quality.

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