Capitol Square going green to help the James River

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A new initiative to help clean up the James River kicked off at the State Capitol in downtown Richmond.

State leaders are now going green on the Capitol Square, to reduce the amount of storm water runoff into the James.

We haven't seen much rain all summer season and hot days have been dominating the headlines.

But when it does rain, most of the water, whether it falls in your backyard or on Capitol Square, makes it's way into the James River, and some of that water is rather polluted.

"When it rains heavily, you take the pollutants from land and move it into the James River," said NBC12 meteorologist Andrew Freiden.

We found a perfect example: what looks like an oil slick, is really some pollution in the river, and it's all around.

"The dirtier the water is, the worst it is for wildlife, recreation for all sorts of reasons," adds Freiden.

It's those reasons and more that pushed leaders at the State Capitol to make some changes and go green.  A project is underway to make sure the water that falls here on the Capitol grounds, does not immediately rush off into the river and streams.

And that's exactly what river lovers, like Bill Street, want to hear. "It gives me great hope and encouragement," said Street, who is with the James River Association. "If we continue to make that effort, we can achieve our fully healthy river and have it be a great assets to us in the future."

But that may take some time. "What they are doing at the Capitol will have a little tiny impact. We need more work to be done over the years," says Freiden.

While the river is much cleaner today than years ago, Street says the state has set a goal of 2025 to have the James much cleanlier, healthier, and safer for you.

But for that to happen, it takes people like you at home, to follow the example we are now seeing at the State Capitol.

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