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In early February, the city began work in the Bottom neighborhood on a unique “green streets” project. Work is being done in the area to build facilities that help reduce stormwater runoff and clean up polluted runoff water before it empties into Burnt Mill Creek. The project should be completed by the end of the February. The Bottoms Neighborhood is a part of the Burnt Mill Creek watershed, which has poor water quality according to 2010 UNCW Water Quality Report.
“The Bottom,” so-called because it is one of the lowest points in the Burnt Mill Creek watershed, is bounded by Fifth and Seventh streets on the east and west, and Market and Castle streets on the south and north.
Special “pervious” pavement parking areas are being built on 12th and Dock streets and 12th and Orange streets that will allow polluted stormwater runoff water to soak into the ground, where it is filtered and cleaned by the soil. Regular pavement is “impervious,” which means it does not allow for any stormwater to be soaked into the ground, but rather runs off the hard surface untreated into area waterways.
In addition, two specially-outfitted tree planters that capture stormwater runoff will be installed at Dock and 12th streets, and two grassy areas will be installed on Dock Street between 11th and 12th streets. Both of these facilities are also designed to clean stormwater by filtering it through soil before the water flows into waterways.
The city is working with NCSU Cooperative Extension and the NC Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering to construct the stormwater facilities. The $375,000 project is being completed with $225,000 in grant funds and an in-kind match of $81,000 from the city.