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Retrofit Project in Waynesboro Brings City to Life
July 2017

To the naked eye, the detention basin that stretched across 10-acres in the City of Waynesboro didn’t look like much other than a large grassed field. However, to the stormwater specialists at Timmons Group and City staff, the underutilized basin was seen as the perfect opportunity to construct a thriving new wetland ecosystem. As a result of the declining water quality in the South River all the way downstream to the Chesapeake Bay, the City was required to examine opportunities to treat stormwater runoff, either by the creation of new facilities or by potential retrofit of existing facilities. The Jefferson Park detention basin, originally constructed to provide flood control for nearly 330 acres of urban drainage area seemed like the perfect opportunity for retrofit to both create habitat and improve water quality downstream.

The City of Waynesboro, a city of 21,000 nestled in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, called on Timmons Group to support the City’s commitment to sustainable stormwater management and create a space for the community to connect with nature. To keep the project cost effective, Timmons Group assisted the City in applying for grant funds and successfully secured partial (50%) funding through the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF) grant program. The City funded the remainder of the project costs using a low interest loan available through the Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund.

The constructed wetland will allow Mulberry Run to pass through a series of shallow and deep pools, allowing sediment to deposit and improving water quality while maintaining its overall function to provide flood control during large rainfall events. Trees, shrubs and wetland grasses planted within the basin also work to absorb nutrients found in the stream flows. Native plants attract local pollinators, songbirds, and deer while wetland ponds host frogs, turtles, and waterfowl. Berms within the park were designed with community access in mind, and allow residents to enjoy the facility. It is estimated that the constructed wetland will remove approximately 300 pounds of total Phosphorus, annually.

“This whole project was designed to be sustainable and community-friendly,” said Mike Claud, Timmons Group’s Stormwater practice leader, “Everything we did was in line with the City’s commitment to the environment.” The project was the next step in the City’s plan to enhance the ecological and water quality function of detention basins throughout the City. It was also the winner of a 2017 Best Urban BMP in the Bay award (BUBBA) for Best Habitat Creation in a BMP and has recently been nominated for an EPA PISCES (Performance and Innovation in the SRF Creating Environment Success) award.

Home to a bustling wildlife habitat and community refuge the Jefferson Park detention basin is now known as Mulberry Run Constructed Wetland. The City plans to incorporate educational signage and a community garden into the park. The project has been hugely supported by surrounding residents who have watched the site be brought to life right in front of their eyes.

By Mike Claud, PE, CFM – Timmons Group

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