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Construction Completed on the Courthouse Bioretention Demonstration Project

PRIDE - Protecting Resources in Delicate EnvironmentsDate: November 21, 2003

Contact: Beth Davis, James City County

Phone: (757) 253-6859


(James City County) Construction is now complete on a bioretention basin at the Williamsburg/James City County Courthouse on Monticello Avenue. With support from local Courthouse officials, the demonstration project was cooperatively planned, designed and constructed by James City County with approval from the City of Williamsburg and partial funding from a Chesapeake Small Watershed grant awarded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.


The project consisted of converting an existing low-lying area in front of the Williamsburg/James City County Courthouse into a 3,460-square foot stormwater Best Management Practice (BMP) bioretention basin. To promote recharge and infiltration, the bioretention basin has under drain piping with coarse stone situated on top of existing subsurface sand. To promote filtering of pollutants associated with stormwater runoff, the basin has surface planting soil, mulch and native tree, shrub and ground cover landscaping.


The bioretention basin provides additional water quality treatment to reduce non-point source pollution from stormwater runoff at the existing Courthouse site and from existing and future offsite development areas situated to the east. The project demonstrates how existing land and drainage features can be effectively converted to provide a distinct water quality benefit but yet serve as an attractive, landscaped feature. The project is consistent with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation programs of the City of Williamsburg and James City County and the County's Powhatan Creek Watershed Management Plan.


The contractor for the project was Excavator Services LLC of Suffolk, Virginia. Engineering services were provided by Watershed Consulting LLC of Richmond and GET Solutions, Inc. of Williamsburg. Construction was completed in approximately 14 days. Total cost of the project, including engineering and design, was $63,425 or $18.33 per square foot of full depth bioretention.


The basin will be monitored for a period of time following construction to assess its stormwater function and to allow time for the landscaping to adapt. A follow-up workshop is planned to present the process and results of the project to local citizens, the development community and regulatory officials.


For additional information about the project or the watershed education program of James City County, go to or contact Beth Davis, Environmental Education Coordinator, at 253-6859.


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