New Hanover High School’s New Bio-Retention Facility Protects Local CreekA new bio-retention facility installed in the Dock Street parking lot at New Hanover High School (NHHS) will help improve the quality of water in nearby Burnt Mill Creek. The facility controls the flow of storm water from the parking lot and filters out pollutants before they enter the storm water system. The project was installed by the North Carolina State University Department of Biological Engineering and the NC Water Resources Research Institute through a grant from the NC Clean Water Trust Fund and United State Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act. The New Hanover County Schools Facility Planning Department and NHHS participated in the design and construction process and NHHS can utilize this new facility in their instruction program to illustrate “Best Management Practices” for improving storm water quality in our area.
Storm water is water that originates from rain events. Storm water that does not soak into the ground becomes surface runoff and flows to nearby ditches, storm drains and waterways. Storm water picks up pollutants from the landscape, but does not go to a treatment plant. High volumes of storm water, laden with oil, sediments and nitrogen enter the bio-retention facility from the low points in the curb. The polluted water fills up the facility until it seeps into the soils or overflows into the vertical drain pipes. Pollutants are removed by organic materials in the soil. Water tolerant, drought-resistant plants absorb the water and keep the soil from eroding. The remaining water goes into the drain pipe in the gravel and enters Burnt Mill Creek virtually free of pollutants.