From left to right: Jenn

From left to right: Jenn Conceicao, homeowner; Quentin Posey, Down East Insulation; Bree Tillett, coastal fellow for the federation; Nick Tata and Nigel Thomas, Down East Insulation.

Stormwater is the number one pollutant of coastal waters, but the North Carolina Coastal Federation and Down East Insulation are mitigating the effects of stormwater runoff by installing rain barrels into yards in the White Oak River Basin.

Staff at the federation worked with the company on June 9 to install six rain barrels in the Marsh Harbour neighborhood off N.C. 24 in Cedar Point.

Lauren Kolodij, deputy director of the federation, said the federation is working with the community as part of a grant to help reduce runoff in the White Oak River.

“We wanted to work with the community to offer simple solutions and educate property owners about water quality in the White Oak,” said Kolodij.

Stormwater runoff picks up bacteria and other pollutants before flowing into coastal waterways. This causes water to reach dangerous bacteria levels, which can lead to closures for shellfish harvesting and swimming.

The goal of catching stormwater in rain barrels is to prevent rain from flowing down driveways, roads and eventually into waterways. Rain barrels are especially useful for downspouts that drain directly onto driveways since there is no soil to infiltrate the water.

With rain barrels, homeowners will be able to reuse this water for their gardens and yards, all while reducing harmful stormwater runoff and decreasing water bills.

Jenn Conceicao heard about the federation’s rain barrels through a neighbor. Conceicao said she was interested in rain barrels because she likes to water her plants every morning, but her water bill skyrockets during the summer. She was also interested in being more “green” by reducing stormwater runoff and reusing it.


Nigel Thomas of Down East Insulation installs the hose on a rain barrel. The water will be reused for lawn and plant care.

The federation spearheaded this project, and Down East Insulation installed the barrels. Nick Tata, sales manager for the Down East Insulation, worked with Nigel Thomas and Quentin Posey to install the barrels. Down East Insulation was contracted by the federation to help with the installations, and have only recently started installing rain barrels, which takes little time.

Funding for this project is provided by the Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act. Under this grant, the federation is working to implement the White Oak watershed restoration plan for impaired waters. The federation is also focusing on simple restoration techniques in the Ocean Spray neighborhood and the Croatan National Forest as part of this project.

Read more about stormwater runoff solutions at home in Smart Yards, a do-it-yourself guide to reducing stormwater pollution. Rain barrels and native plants may also be purchased at the federation, so come and get them before they’re gone!