The Town of Hillsborough and other members of the Upper Neuse River Basin Association recently received approval for a new approach to water quality management, according to an Oct. 7 press release from the Town.
The new approach will improve the regulation of water sources, such as the Eno River, in a more "innovative, cost-effective" manner, per the release.
The N.C. Environmental Management Commission unanimously approved the Interim Alternative Implementation Approach in September.
It will help supplement compliance with the Stage I Falls Lake Rules for Existing Development, a nutrient management strategy to limit and reduce nutrient contributions to the watershed over time.
According to a press release issued by the UNRBA, the IAIA will aid local governments in compliance with the Falls Lake Rules by expanding the methods being used to reduce nutrient pollution.
Terry Hackett, stormwater and environmental services manager for the Town of Hillsborough, said the removal of regulatory silos, as emphasized in the IAIA, will allow for collaboration or "joint compliance" between members of the UNRBA to invest in projects and leverage funding more effectively.
“Watershed boundaries do not typically equate to municipal and county boundaries,” Hackett said. “(Joint compliance) creates a partnership where we can do things locally, but we can also work. We’re working with Orange County on several things.”
The IAIA outlines eligible projects that may be used to help reduce the occurrence of non-point source nutrient pollution. Green infrastructure, riparian buffer restoration and enhancement and land conservation are a few potential methods that may be used to improve water quality by reducing nutrient runoff.
In Hillsborough, there have already been several small projects to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations. Hackett was responsible for projects like floating islands and compost blankets, which function in ways that remove and prevent excess nutrients that may exacerbate water quality issues.