Towns of Tarboro, Statonburg, & Scotland Neck

The Power of Art: Towns of Tarboro, Statonsburg, and Scotland Neck, North Carolina

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Acting Entity: Upper Coastal Plains Council of Governments
Contact Person: Dennis Patton
Cost: $8,000 approximately
Population Served: 55,870

Water Supply: Run-of-river and reservoir, Roanoke River, Tar-Pamlico River, Neuse River, Lake Gaston, Roanoke River Sanitary District, City of Rocky Mount, City of Tarboro
PWS ID: 0442010, 0464010, 0433010

Helping Organizations:
· Roanoke River Association
· Tar-Pamlico River Foundation
· Neuse River Basin Association
· NC Division of Water Quality; Section 205 (j)
· Stantonsburg Elementary School
· Baker Elementary School
· Patillo Elementary School
· Towns of Tarboro, Scotland Neck, and Stantonsburg

Funding Sources:
· Grant in the amount of $6,920 from NC Division of Water Quality
· UCPCOG absorbed remaining costs

 

 

Features: The major focus of project is public education, which occurs on three levels: elementary school children, community's public officials and the general public (residents and visitors).

 

 

Summary: The idea for this project developed from the success of a previous tile project, funded by a DWQ 205(j) grant in the Town of Southport, NC. Patsy King, Planning and Development Services Director of the Upper Coastal Plain COG, learned of the innovative educational tile project through a report by the Cape Fear COG in the annual COG Success Stories publication. This project targeted the water quality issues that arise when substances are dumped into storm drains. Many people dispose of substances into storm drains without realizing that dumping adversely impacts the quality of the receiving waters. The tile project involved creating tiles to be mounted on stormwater drains. These tiles were used to educate onlookers as to the dangers of dumping substances into the storm drain.

King thought that this would be a good opportunity to educate the public about the importance of water quality. Realizing that the Upper Coastal Plain COG region contained three river basins, the Roanoke River Basin, the Tar-Pamlico River Basin, and the Neuse River Basin, she contacted municipalities in each of three basins and asked them to participate in a storm drain educational tile initiative. The towns of Scotland Neck, Tarboro and Stantonsburg eagerly volunteered to collaborate with the COG in this public education project, as did elementary schools in each of the towns (Baker Elementary, Patillo Elementary and Stantonsburg Elementary respectively).

Upon grant approval, King and Assistant PDS Director Dennis Patton then contacted the three river basin associations that would have an interest in the project, the Roanoke River Association, the Tar-Pamlico River Foundation, and the Neuse River Basin Association. These non-profit groups made presentations to the elementary students about the impacts of impervious surfaces and pollution on the rivers. They worked with the teachers to have classes of students develop a design to communicate how we can prevent pollution from reaching our rivers. After the COG and the art teachers narrowed the choices, municipal officials selected winning designs, which were then applied to 6" x 6" frost resistant tiles. Public works crews installed the tiles on the top of storm drains located in high-traffic pedestrian areas of each town: 250 tiles in Scotland Neck, 500 in Tarboro and 85 in Stantonsburg.

This project succeeded in educating schoolchildren, municipal staff, elected officials and the general public about the environmental consequences of dumping contaminants into stormwater drains. Local newspapers published photos of winning tile designs. Also, the designs themselves educate pedestrians about the connection between storm drains and our streams and rivers. The success of the program has spread; the Upper Coastal Plain COG has been awarded another 205(j) grant to continue the program with the towns of Roanoke Rapids and Nashville and the city of Wilson in the Roanoke, Tar-Pamlico and Neuse river basins respectively.

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