Fourth cistern project completed at Nash

Mitch Woodward works on the rainwater-harvesting cistern at Nash Community College.

Sound Rivers Program Director Clay Barber was back at Nash Community College this week, putting the finishing touches on a rainwater-harvesting cistern.

This one took some additional work and work-arounds, Clay said.

“This pump we installed took a lot longer than anticipated because of the height of the tank. At 11 feet tall, it’s a little more complicated to install an internal pump,” he said.

This fourth cistern installed on the campus will collect 6,100 gallons of runoff from the Continuing Education building’s roof. As the tank fills up with stormwater, a passive drawdown will slowly drain the tank over a few days, watering the surrounding lawn and filtering the runoff. Should the tank fill up completely during a hard rain, the excess runoff will be diverted back to the original pipe system.

Mitch Woodward, N.C. State Cooperative Extension’s area specialized agent for watersheds and water quality, has been leading the cistern projects on the campus. While Mitch was there, Clay also asked him to weigh in on fixing a recently completed rain garden that had been, even more recently, dismantled and replaced by river rock over a plastic liner.

“Unfortunately, someone who didn’t know anything about stormwater and a local landscaping company that also did not know anything about stormwater, did it to make the area ‘look better,’” Clay said.

Clay said the rain garden can be restored to its originally purposed — allowing pooled water to filter slowly into the ground while supporting native species — but will require a redo of the more aesthetically-pleasing redo.

The redo that must be redone uses river rocks over a plastic liner with non-native species edging the rain garden.

The original rain garden at Nash Community College allows runoff to filter through the soil while supporting native species.