The City of New Bern's Stormwater Maintenance Division was created in July 2012. The division is responsible for the annual maintenance and repair of the City's storm drainage system. The storm drainage system contains more than 60 miles of storm drain piping, 80 miles of major and minor drainage outlets and 4,000 drainage structures. Crews within this division will be responsible for the routine cleaning and maintenance of storm drain piping and structures, routine clearing, grubbing and sediment removal for all major and minor outlets, and repairing/replacing/upgrading existing storm drainage infrastructure. Crews provide maintenance to existing storm drain pipes, drainage outlets, and drainage structures in accordance with the Levels of Service document (Levels of Service).
In the late 1990's, the North Carolina State Legislature adopted a specific set of rules which target the reduction of nitrogen into the Neuse River Basin from non-point sources, such as runoff from logging and tree farming in the Forestry Industry, runoff from farming operations in the Agricultural Industry and urban stormwater from fifteen governmental entities throughout the Neuse River Basin. The City of New Bern, as one of those entities, was required to implement a program which reduces total nitrogen export by 30 percent, maintains a no net increase of peak flow, and ensures compliance with requirements for protecting and maintaining existing riparian buffers in all new developments. Under the rule, each entity is required to implement public education programs (Neuse Cleanwater Education Partnership / www.NCcleanwater.org), identify and remove illegal discharges into the stormwater system, identify suitable locations for stormwater retrofit projects for the reduction of nitrogen, and submit an annual report to the state documenting progress and net changes to nitrogen load from within the city’s planning jurisdiction. Today the rules are changing again, with tighter requirements for the city and new developers. New tools are to be implemented to ease the process of calculating best practices for treating stormwater in the future.
As we begin this process of evolving to meet the requirements of our NPDES permit and the changes in the Tar, Pamlico and Neuse River rules, we will be reviewing the effectiveness of our municipal stormwater codes and ordinances. This will also include an overhaul of our stormwater management manual. The implementation of an electronic stormwater application process is in the future of our program as well. While this rebuild is taking place, you may access the NCDEQ’s Stormwater Design Manual for minimum design criteria for your perspective SCMs.
Jack Smith Creek Stormwater Wetlands
This project is a unique water quality partnership between the City of New Bern, The NC Ecosystems Enhancement Program, and the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund. The project involves the construction of a stormwater wetland to capture and treat runoff from a large watershed in New Bern. The wetland is proposed as an environmental initiative by the City, and as a part of the EEP Nutrient Offset Program. The wetland has the ability to treat runoff from over 1,000 acres of residential and commercial property. The project is unique in both its size and scope, and is the largest stormwater retrofit built to date in NC. The site location and contributing watershed represents a rare chance to intercept stormwater before it gets to the Neuse River, less than one mile away. In addition, the site is in use by NC State University as a wetland research park to evaluate the ability of large scale wetlands to improve water quality.
Click here to view the Jack Smith Creek Wetlands Brochure.
Click here for an overall map of the wetlands site.
Click here to view the Jack Smith Creek Information Video.
Biddle Street Stormwater Pond Improvements Project
In 2021, the City of New Bern began the planning and development of the Duffyfield Community Stormwater Enhancement Project. The scope of the project is to create a more resilient stormwater system to combat nuisance flooding and will also incorporate elements of natural water cleansing practices. When complete, several city-owned lots will be transformed into constructed wetlands and the pond on Biddle Street will be upgraded in size with the addition of larger pumps to accommodate a higher volume of rainfall. The project will also incorporate walking trail and park amenities.
Avery Smith, Stormwater Superintendent