BEAUFORT — Officials and staff in one town are working to improve stormwater drainage with permeable pavement on Orange Street.
The N.C. Coastal Federation, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring the coastal environment in North Carolina, announced Wednesday the N.C. Land and Water Fund recently supported “an innovative stormwater project that is transforming a typical paved street in the town of Beaufort into a stormwater treatment device.”
The federation and town officials utilized the grant funding to ensure a scheduled improvement project to upgrade pipes and infrastructure and repave portions of Orange Street included a 500-foot section of permeable paving.
The NCCF said the end product will help soak in rain instead of contributing to runoff.
“Stormwater runoff from heavy rains typically flows down the hard surface of paved streets funneling pollutants to nearby waterways,” the federation said. “Standard procedure is to resurface roads with conventional paving material, but this project instead incorporated permeable sections that allow water to soak into the ground.”
According to the federation, the project is part of a communitywide commitment to implement the 2017 Beaufort Watershed Restoration Plan. This plan is a blueprint for reducing polluted runoff in and calls for reducing the overall volume of runoff being generated throughout town.
“We are committed to taking measures to clean-up our waterways,” Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton said in the release. “The successful boat ramp and Orange Street pervious surface projects have been a great partnership with coastal federation, and important parts of large-scale infrastructure improvements across our community.
“By improving these systems, we are greatly reducing the amount of toxins going into our waterways as we strive to set the standard as a North Carolina Clean Water Coastal Community,” the mayor continued.
Additional projects funded in part by the Land and Water Fund in Beaufort include the 2019 installation of permeable paving grids at a N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Boating Access Area. The WRC partnered with the federation and town to replace the compacted gravel parking spaces with the pervious grids to allow rain to soak into the ground. The drive aisles were paved, but most of the runoff flows into the permeable parking stalls, reducing the volume of reaching Taylors Creek.
NCCF coastal specialist Bree Charron said these projects demonstrate a balance between expense and water quality benefit.
“By directing impervious surface runoff to areas of permeable pavement, our partners capitalized on scheduled infrastructure repair to decrease total runoff,” she said.
The NCCF works with local governments, businesses and coastal communities to embrace nature-based stormwater strategies to reduce flooding, improve water quality and help balance economic development with natural resource management.