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Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Marks Completion Of First Phase Of DRBC Stormwater Demonstration Project

For Immediate Release

July 18, 2007

(WEST TRENTON, N.J.)  -- The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) today celebrated the completion of the first phase of an ongoing effort to demonstrate how an older site can be transformed (or retrofitted) to properly handle stormwater, a continuing source of flooding and water quality impairment.

Participants in the ribbon cutting ceremony included DRBC Chair Cathy Curran Myers, Pa. Gov. Edward Rendell's representative on the federal-interstate commission; Vice Chair Michele Putnam representing N.J. Gov. Jon Corzine; Second Vice Chair Mark Klotz representing N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Harry Otto representing Del. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner,  Lt. Col. Gwen Baker representing federal government member Brig. Gen. Todd  Semonite, and DRBC Executive Director Carol Collier.

"The existing office building and five-acre site is representative of the land development practices of the 1970s with essentially no stormwater management except the immediate transport of runoff offsite through pipes or over paved surfaces," Collier said.  "As a leader in water resource management, we felt it was appropriate for the DRBC to set a good example on how to control runoff and provide on-the-ground examples of different stormwater best management practices, or BMPs.  When the three-phase master plan is completed, the DRBC headquarters site will serve as a model demonstration of innovative methods and materials for stormwater management and use of runoff as a resource, while working with existing site conditions."

Funding for the construction of the first phase at the front entrance to the property was obtained through a federal Section 319(h) grant administered by the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).  The remaining phases must still be financed.  When finished, there will be a bioretention swale (consisting of a soil bed planted with native vegetation located above an underdrained sand layer), a landscaped detention basin, pervious pavement to increase infiltration of storm water back into the ground, underground dry wells, an infiltration wetland, and a cistern to collect roof runoff.

Environmental goals desired in this retrofit project include:

  • Increasing and restoring the site's ground water recharge capability (up to 100% of pre-development recharge);
  • Reducing discharge of non point source pollutants from the site to a Delaware River tributary;
  • Reducing the volume of stormwater runoff from two-year, ten-year, and 100-year storm events;
  • Installing as many NJDEP-approved non-structural measures, landscaping, drainage alterations, and water quality improvement devices as funds allow in order that the site can serve as a water management educational center; and
  • Improving on-site management practices, such as reduced use of fertilizers, pesticides, and deicing materials.

"Retrofitting a site for stormwater management is more complicated than incorporating BMPs into the design of new construction," Collier said. "We will be providing educational materials on cost, installation/maintenance, and environmental monitoring for each BMP in order to show relative effectiveness."

The design team assisting DRBC is led by representatives from Princeton Hydro, LCC.(Ringoes, N.J.), Pickering, Corts & Summerson, Inc. (Newtown, Pa.), and Mark Shablin Landscape Contracting (Newtown, Pa.).

The DRBC was formed by compact in 1961 through legislation signed into law by President John F. Kennedy and the governors of the four basin states with land draining to the Delaware River (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania).  The passage of this compact marked the first time in our nation's history that the federal government and a group of states joined together as equal partners in a river basin planning, development, and regulatory agency.

Additional information about commission activities can be found on its web site at www.drbc.net.


Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Marking the Completion of the DRBC Stormwater Retrofit Demonstration Project's First Phase (July 18, 2007) - Pictured (from left to right) are Executive Director Carol Collier, Commission Chair Cathy Curran Myers (Pa.), Commissioner Harry Otto (Del.), Commissioner Michele Putnam (N.J.), Commissioner Mark Klotz (N.Y.), and Commissioner Lt. Col. Gwen Baker (federal government).