Local News

Homeowners Can Do their Part to Protect State Waterways

Posted February 18, 1999

— Digging around in your backyard could help save North Carolina's rivers.N.C. State Universityscientists say a few plants in the right place could do wonders for our state's waterways.

To prove their point, they have set up a demonstration in Kinston to show how well a "rain garden" cleans rainwater.

The rain garden is nothing more than a group of plants in a low-lying area which filters water as it seeps into the ground. But organizers say it can do a lot of good.

"The plants will help uptake some of the pollutants and a lot of the rest of the pollution or nutrients like nitrates that will leave the site," says Bill Hunt, N.C State University extension specialist.

The city of Kinston -- no stranger to waste runoff problems -- has offered to host this demonstration permanently.

"What we're trying to do is help the developers, give them a site they can come look at and see how easily and how simply it can be done on a small site to treat storm water runoff," says Scott Stevens, Kinston city engineer.

Together, the city and the state paid about $400 to make the rain garden, but they're hoping North Carolinians will consider doing the same at their homes. The typical homeowner could pay about $100 or less for a smaller version.

"This is the type of practice that can be used in sandy soils that exist for the most part east of I-95," says Hunt. "It's not that expensive to install and it does provide a lot of pollutant treatment."

With a trip to the plant store and a little work in the yard, you could help keep dirty water away from our rivers.

Experts say specific plants work more efficiently than others. You can call your local state extension service office to find out more.


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