12/14/04 — Keeping it Clean -- Wayne's newest farm agent fights river pollution

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Keeping it Clean -- Wayne's newest farm agent fights river pollution

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on December 14, 2004 2:06 PM

Wayne County's newest extension agent is trying to reduce the amount of pollutants entering streams in eastern North Carolina.

Dwane Jones became the assistant area specialized agent for environmental education in July for Wayne, Greene, Pitt, Lenoir and surrounding counties. He replaced Mike Regans, who had retired last year.

Jones, a Kansas native, has been in North Carolina for 20 years and is based at the Greene County Cooperative Extension office in Snow Hill. He earned a bachelor of science degree in urban and regional planning from East Carolina University and a master of science in industrial technology concentrating in environmental planning from ECU.

His experience includes being an environmental planner with the Pitt County Planning Department and a lab technician in the ECU Biology Lab. He received the 2001 Best State Local Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Program Award.

Jones is developing educational programs to address residential, commercial and industrial water-quality problems, stormwater management and landscaping. He is the only agent in the area specialized in water quality.

He is also applying for grants to help with projects to reduce the amount of pollutants entering streams and the Neuse River.

One project is developing a cistern, or tank, at the Wayne Center to capture the rainwater runoff from the rooftop. Nutrients from the water on the roof run off and eventually go into the streams and rivers. The cistern will prevent this and will conserve the water to be used to spread on the landscape or wash cars, he said.

The job was appealing because Jones likes education, research projects, writing grants, keeping up with the latest technology and trying new things.

Jones also deals with stormwater wetlands, where plants absorb the nutrients before they reach the streams.

An example of an ongoing project dealing with stormwater management is called the Stoney Creek Project at Mickey's Pastry on Graves Drive in Goldsboro. Instead of asphalt, the parking lot is made from a "permeable interlocking concrete pavement."

Rainwater in a normal parking lot would run off into a drain, carrying oil, nitrogen and other harmful materials. This contaminated water eventually ends up in the Neuse River. By using permeable pavement, the rain seeps through the pavement, and the pollutants are filtered out.

Jones said he is looking forward to working with area residents and answering their questions about water quality.