Stormwater Runoff Issues Solved With Mitch Woodward

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Mitch Woodward explains how cisterns capture and store rain water.

Did you know that stormwater runoff from urban areas is the top pollution source in North Carolina? During Extension Master Gardener College 2022, NC State Extension Master Gardener℠ (EMG) volunteers gained knowledge of cost-effective, small-scale stormwater management techniques that can be installed in home landscapes. They will take this knowledge back to their communities and share it with local residents to help improve property values and protect water quality. 

Raingardens, Bioswales, and Bioretention Cells – Oh My!

During a tour led by Mitch Woodward, N.C. Cooperative Extension area specialized agent for water quality, Extension Master Gardener volunteers visited water management techniques that included commercial and residential rain gardens, bioswales, and bioretention cells. At each stop, Mitch explained the various management techniques that were installed. 

Debbie Dillion, N.C. Cooperative Extension horticulture agent in Union County, tells us about the tour, “At one stop, we saw three management techniques used together. All of the rainwater from a parking deck, the office building, and the property surrounding it is kept on this commercial site using permeable paving, rain gardens, and a bioretention cell.”

Other sites visited included a recently established community garden and a Raleigh firehouse. A homeowner adjacent to the community garden collaborated with her church and others to receive a grant to install cisterns that collect rain water from the home’s roof. The rain water stored in the cisterns is used to irrigate the community garden. 

In the images below, Mitch explains how the system takes rain water from the house gutters and diverts it into the cisterns, noting that the intake on the cisterns has to be lower than the gutter’s intake for the rainwater to enter.

Large cistern captures stormwater runoff.

Community garden cistern. Image by Debbie Dillion, N.C. Cooperative Extension

The tour also visited a Raleigh firehouse, where a cistern collects rainwater from the roof that is used to wash the vehicles. In addition to the cistern, the site included a rain garden that captures runoff from the station’s driveway.

Learn More

Learn more about stormwater management solutions you can install in your landscape from these NC State Extension publications:

Learn more about how you can be part of the NC State Extension Master Gardener℠ program!