Pine Knoll Shores finishes flood mitigation project

May 14, 2021
The town can now lower its water table into an adjacent golf pond in order to increase infiltration and reduce pollutant runoff.

OCEAN, NC — Heavy rains, on top of already saturated soils, frequently cause houses, yards and roads to flood. These flood waters then become polluted runoff, degrading coastal waterways. The Town of Pine Knoll Shores and the North Carolina Coastal Federation recently completed a project with support of the N.C. Land and Water Fund to tackle the problem head on to reduce damaging flooding and runoff.

“The Town has been addressing flooding issues for decades. The normal practice has been to pump water into Bogue Sound, the canal, and the Atlantic. This water has been impacted by state highways, public roads, and septic fields. We now, with the federation’s help, have a means to reduce this by preemptively lowering the water table and creating greater capacity for infiltration,” said Pine Knoll Shores town manager Brian Kramer.

A major component of the project included the installation of a series of perforated pipes and pumps that enable the Town to move groundwater from flood-prone residential areas to the Crystal Coast County Club golf course pond where it is stored. This pumping draws down groundwater levels, increasing the capacity of the land to soak in the rain on site.

The project also positions the Town to be proactive and pre-emptively pump down groundwater before large storms to prevent future flooding. A second pump at the golf course sends water to an infiltration basin and level spreader for large, emergency-scale events when the Town needs to dewater the golf course ponds for storage. Reducing flooding greatly reduces the amount of pollution entering surfaces waters. The intended result will be to remedy the town from using previous approaches that involved pumping surface water from flooded septic fields directly to adjacent waters.

Monitoring will be conducted to evaluate and fine tune the system, and determine how this approach can be utilized in other communities.

“It’s great to work with such a committed partner to reduce large volumes of runoff,” said Bree Charron, coastal specialist with the federation.

This project was identified in the town’s watershed restoration plan that was developed in partnership with the federation and Eastern Carolina Council and adopted in 2019. The plan aids the town in prioritizing projects like this to reduce the volume of stormwater runoff entering coastal waters.

It is also the type of restoration approach encouraged across the state in the recently released Nature-based Stormwater Strategies Action Plan that was unveiled in early March.

More information is available at https://www.nccoast.org/project/pine-knoll-shores-watershed-restoration/.

SOURCE: North Carolina Coastal Federation

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