Stormwater capital improvement projects (CIPs) are construction projects that replace or improve old stormwater drainage systems to protect water quality and reduce the risk of flooding. These types of projects typically include stormwater features like treatment swales, vaults, and catch basins as well as retrofits to wetlands and existing stormwater infrastructure. The goals of these projects are to remove pollutants, such as fecal coliform, from stormwater. Capital projects are also designed to reduce the risk of flooding by improving stormwater flow capacity. The Town of Bluffton has a CIP program based on the Town’s objectives and goals and the May River Watershed Action Plan Stormwater Plan
This project involves the restoration of wetlands within the Stoney Creek watershed that are located immediately above the Stoney Creek tidal zone. Wetlands are thought to clean and filter polluted stormwater runoff from upland development. However, the Town and County’s sampling program has shown in several places that “clean” water from stormwater ponds is entering wetlands areas and becoming “dirty”. This project is ideally located so that restoration measures can affect a significant portion of wetlands, thereby increasing the chances for measurable improvements to fecal loadings at the project outfall.
The proposed wetlands restoration project would involve a portion of the ditch system running through the wetland area for Stoney Creek. The restoration would force runoff out of the ditch and allow it to flow across a much larger area, slowing it down, increasing infiltration and evaporation, and allowing pollutants to drop or be filtered out.
The goal of the Pine Ridge Retrofit and Irrigation System Best Management Practice (BMP) is to reduce stormwater runoff volume and fecal loadings from the Pine Ridge Subdivision, a high density residential development within the Rose Dhu Creek subwatershed.
This site is an ideal location and was selected for several reasons. The primary reasons are the existing pond system configuration, the current lack of volume reduction for this high-density development, and the site’s proximity to a large area of upland property that can be irrigated. The connectivity of the ponds offers a large surface area and water volume to use for irrigation, thereby providing minimal visual aesthetic impact for the necessary volume draw down required for the ~20-30 acres of upland open space that are available to irrigate adjacent to the site.
For the subwatershed treatment area, it is anticipated that stormwater runoff volume will be reduced annually by ~60% through water reuse via a new irrigation system, and fecal loading by ~80% through volume reduction and improved pond treatment efficiency. This BMP will reduce fecal loadings within the Rose Dhu Creek Watershed.
Beaufort County, the Towns of Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Port Royal, and the City of Beaufort (henceforth the County) occupy a unique environment of major watersheds and wetland areas that are vital to the survival of marine and aquatic ecosystems far beyond its shores and the confluence of its rivers. To preserve the health of these ecosystems, the County has a thorough stormwater regulatory program to ensure that stormwater runoff, sediment control and water quality meet and exceed Federal and State requirements.
In February 2006 Thomas & Hutton Engineers and Camp Dresser and McKee, Inc. completed the first overall Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) for Beaufort County. This study was undertaken as the overall water quality within waterbodies in the County and its adjoining municipalities were being adversely impacted by rapid growth in many areas of the County. In addition to water quality issues, the County was also experiencing flooding in a number of areas.
Later in 2006, the County began implementation of recommendations from the SWMP.
One of the most far-reaching federal regulations the County must implement are the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) regulations. These regulations provide a specific time line and requirements the County’s MS4s must implement as part of their SWMPs and will impact how the Stormwater Utility operates.
The Town of Bluffton, along with the other municipalities within the County and Beaufort County, are updating the SWMP for a number of reasons including but not limited to: