The Piedmont Conservation Council applied for and was awarded a grant from the North Carolina CWMTF in 2008 for innovative stormwater treatment and reuse at Alamance Community College in Graham, NC. Grant-writers and administrators of the school were looking to strengthen environmental stewardship and environmental education at the College, as well as beautify their campus and do their part to keep the Haw River (which sits at the edge of the campus) as healthy as possible.
Due to budget constraints, CWMTF was forced to withdraw grants in the 2008 cycle, but was able to re-award them in 2010. So, with support from ACC educators, administration and EcoEngineering (a subsidiary of the J.R. McAdams Company), the project resumed.
The project consists of two major components: bioretention areas in parking lot islands in one of the school’s lots adjacent to the Haw, and rainwater harvesting from the shop building to irrigate the greenhouse.
The two bioretention areas capture runoff from the parking lot and filter hydrocarbons, sediment, and other pollutants before they are discharged into the Haw.
EcoEngineering utilized both aerobic and anaerobic designs, with anaerobic providing for treatment of the water for temperature before discharge as well treating for pollutants. ACCs horticulture department, under the direction of Justin Snyder, has provided tailored planting designs and installed the plants.
Runoff from the 12,000 square-foot shop building is captured and stored in a 4,900-gallon cistern which will provide water to the horticulture department’s new greenhouse as well as watering trucks used around the campus. It is estimated that approximately 6,000 gallons of potable water per month will be replaced by the reused water provided by this project.
Even though contstruction was completed in September 2011, work continued in the form of educational opportunities for ACC students and sampling of the runoff before and after the bioretention areas (being completed by the NC State University Water Quality group). Sampling and outreach were completed late in 2012 with final reporting and project closeout occurring in January 2013.