We care about our environment at George Nice & Sons, and we do whatever we can to protect it by following strict environmental standards on each project. Our job at Whittaker’s Mill in Williamsburg is one good example of this, as we installed a large bioretention pond in the subdivision just this past May.
What is a bioretention pond?
For drainage areas less than two acres in size, a bioretention pond can help direct surface runoff “into a shallow landscaped depression that incorporates many of the pollutant removal mechanisms that operate in forested ecosystems” (VWRRC). Bioretention ponds and basins are used primarily to slow and treat stormwater runoff. “Stormwater is directed to the basin and then percolates through the system where it is treated by a number of physical, chemical, and biological processes. The slow, cleaned water is allowed to infiltrate native soils or directed to nearby stormwater drains or receiving waters” (Lake Superior Streams).
The following image is an example of a bioinfiltration/bioretention basin with typical features (Philadelphia Water Department).
“Bioretention creates a good environment for runoff reduction, filtration, biological uptake, and microbial activity, and provides high pollutant removal. Bioretention can become an attractive landscaping feature with high amenity value and community acceptance” (VWRRC).
What are the components of a bioretention pond? (Lake Superior Streams)
- Grass buffer strip – reduces runoff velocity and removes suspended solids
- Vegetation – helps remove water through process of evapotranspiration and removes excess nutrients through nutrient cycling
- Shallow ponding area – provides storage of excess stormwater flows and its subsequent evaporation; also aids in the additional settlement of particulate matter
- Mulch – an organic layer that encourages micro biological degradation of petroleum-based pollutants; aids in pollutant filtration and reduces soil erosion
- Engineered soils – supports vegetation growth along with nutrient uptake and provision for water storage; soils should include some clay to adsorb pollutants such as hydrocarbons, heavy metals and nutrients
- Sand bed – provides drainage and aeration of planting soil; aids in flushing pollutants
- Underdrain system – removes excess treated water to storm drain system or receiving waters
On Construction Executive’s website, it says, “It is a necessary effort for all contractors to develop an environmental policy. Depending on the project, environmental protection can translate into time, money or both—as well as failure—to uphold a moral obligation to the community.” And this is something we take very seriously.
Our environmental policy is written as follows on our website:
It may seem ironic for a construction company to advertise its expertise in environmental issues, but as we become more aware of the impact that one seemingly small change to the present can have on the health or even existence of another thing in the future, “green” initiatives just make good sense. Environmental standards set for the construction industry place high demands on companies like ours. But George Nice & Sons, Inc. is keenly aware of the importance of applying these standards in a consistent manner across all areas of our work. This often requires us to come up with creative and innovative solutions to unique and difficult situations. But as a family-run company, we know and embrace the importance of doing things the right way today, to protect the world we’re creating for tomorrow.