HYATTSVILLE, Maryland - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, in coordination with the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment (DoE), completed the construction of multiple projects to manage stormwater at both Ridgecrest Elementary and César Chávez Dual Spanish Immersion schools.
The Corps converted two non-functioning bio-retention ponds to submerged gravel wetland sites at both schools, with one additional gravel wetland site at César Chávez. Large planters were also constructed at César Chávez to capture extra stormwater runoff from the building.
Construction began in late June 2016 and wrapped up this fall. The bulk of the work was completed prior to the new school year, with the exception of the custom-built planters.
“In the past, after storms, there was nowhere for runoff from parking lots, gutters, roads and roofs to go; this created localized flooding and standing water, which would eventually get into the streams and pollute the river,” said Carol Ohl, Corps, Baltimore District, project design manager. “The submerged gravel wetlands allow for the water to be naturally filtered through the soil, rocks and wetland plants.”
Excess nutrients are the principal stressor to the Chesapeake Bay. Sligo Creek subwatershed is one of the most heavily-urbanized subwatersheds within the Anacostia River watershed.
The benefits of this project will be threefold, according to design managers at DoE. The projects should alleviate nuisance drainage issues on the school grounds, and, in turn, should help reduce potential mosquito-breeding areas by reducing the amount of standing water. The projects should also help reduce stormwater runoff that erodes natural stream banks and causes sediment and attached nutrients to flow into the Anacostia watershed and Chesapeake Bay.
"Thanks to our partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Prince George's County has made tremendous progress in capturing and retaining stormwater runoff before it enters our local waterways," states DoE Director Adam Ortiz. "This collaboration will lead to greater improvement in our overall water quality and provide our citizens and residents with a clean and green environment."
ARGO Systems LLC, out of Hanover, Maryland, was the prime contractor for the project.
The project construction cost, totaling $298,840, was cost shared using 75 percent funding from the Corps and 25 percent funding from Prince George’s County, which is the non-federal sponsor. The schools are in charge of maintaining the projects.
Click to view before and after pictures of the project.
Click to view a brief video on the Sligo Creek project.