David Phlegar Stormwater Manager for the Divisions of Water Resources City of Greensboro No more gutters here! Tree boxes, also known as tree wells, installed on the Downtown Greenway sidewalk near the Greenway at Fisher Park Apartments contain a special soil treatment to treat the dirty rainwater running off of Smith Street and surrounding streets, says David Phlegar, Stormwater Manager for the Division of Water Resources in Greensboro, NC. "It's one of the first places downtown that you'll see an example like this," Phelgar says. "It's a lot easier to come in up-front in the planning and construction stages to do this, as opposed to after the fact. We worked with the Downtown Greenway to comply with some of the future Jordan Lake Rules for nutrient management, as well as our regular storm water regulations to improve our water quality." More tree wells and other projects, such as creating alternatives to impervious parking lots, will be appearing around town. To learn more, visit the city's Water Resource website at www.greensboro-nc.gov. Q & A: Learn how changing rules at Jordan Lake are affecting Greensboro's storm water management program.
My name is Scott Neely, and I live in downtown Greensboro in the south side district. Aside from being a youth and arts director, I’m finishing my post-graduate certificate in Sustainable Community Planning and Design from Boston Architectural College. One of the things that caught my eye with the Downtown Greenway project was the Greenway at Fisher Park being developed along Smith Street. I noticed the curbs and the sunken area...and I thought that looked a little different than what we normally see. Putting two and two together with what I’ve been studying, I immediately thought that it had to be a sustainable rain garden—and I was really excited about that! In truth, we are really good at paving things. We actually need to have a little bit of a concrete diet in our lifestyle. The importance of this rain garden is that it catches the water without it running off into the storm drains, especially when we experience a heavy storm. Storm drains can overflow in major rains, so when it overflows it can create flooding and water pollution. Also when water hits an impervious surface, it can run for miles and collect a bunch of pollutants along the way. Sustainability is not just a trend. It’s here to stay, and it’s what we all need to start thinking about as we move forward.
The City of Greensboro is testing stormwater tree wells on the newly constructed section of the Downtown Greenway on West Smith Street at the Greenway at Fisher Park Apartments. The tree wells will improve water quality by filtering and cleaning rainwater runoff through specially constructed soil in the tree well. For more information on this 'green' stormwater treatment system, click here to view the recent article in the Greensboro News & Record.