Citizens in Concord want to do what they can to help protect the environment. This page contains a list of initiatives the City of Concord promotes in an effort to help protect the environment. The City of Concord asks Concord residents to participate and support these programs, which ultimately help protect the environment in which we all live and work. Check back soon, as more items are added to this page.
There are many environmental issues pertaining to air quality. Charlotte, which is considered a large source of air quality emissions, is southwest of Concord. Prevailing winds tend to carry air pollution from Charlotte directly over Concord. Thus, air quality is a concern for Concord citizens. Visit the North Carolina Division of Air Quality to learn more about the problem and how to take action.
In the summer months, ozone is a major concern within and around metropolitan areas. Ground-level ozone forms when pollutants from cars, power plants and other sources combine in hot sunlight. Ozone is a lung irritant that causes shortness of breath, irritates throats and eyes, and aggravates asthma. Ozone levels are highest outdoors from early afternoon to early evening on hot, sunny days.
The Division of Air Quality releases air quality advisories for Cabarrus County. Visit the North Carolina Air Quality Forecast Center for today's and tomorrow's air quality index. See this brochure to learn more about the Air Quality Color Guide.
You can help care for the air by driving less, using less electricity, carpooling, using public transportation, keeping your car and other engines tuned and maintained, keeping tires properly inflated to improve fuel efficiency, and never burn trash (which is illegal and releases toxic chemicals). Additionally, using hybrid vehicle technology and battery-powered vehicles can substantially reduce harmful automobile emissions. Hybrid vehicles not only get better gas mileage, but also substantially reduce the amount of particulate pollution. The City of Concord has shown its support of hybrid vehicle technology by using these types of vehicles in its own fleet.
Brownfield Assessment and Remediation
A brownfield is defined as abandoned, idled or under-used real property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by the presence or potential presence of environmental contamination. Contamination is defined as waste or products that are improperly handled. Contamination can be found in water, soil, and air. Visit our Brownfields page for more information on this United States EPA sponsored program.
The City of Concord's Development Ordinance protects floodplains from being filled and developed. Filling in floodplain areas with soil may prevent flooding at the place of fill, but it simply causes flooding elsewhere. The floodplain ordinance regulates the in-fill of floodplains so that no net loss of floodplain occurs. Visit our Floodplain Program webpage for more information on this topic, and to learn how you can protect your home from flood damage.
Greenscaping is an easy way to a greener, healthier yard. Taking care of our lawns and gardens properly can save money, time, and help the environment. Greenscaping encompasses a set of landscaping practices that can improve the health and appearance of your lawn and garden while protecting and preserving natural resources. Read this brochure to learn how to build and maintain healthy soil, plant right for your site, practice smart watering, manage pests, and practice natural lawn care.
Household Hazardous Waste
Household hazardous waste can be taken to the Cabarrus County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility at 246 General Services Dr in Concord. The hours of operation are the first Wednesday of each month from 8:00am - 4:00pm, and the third Saturday of each month from 8:00am - 1:00pm.
Examples of the types of materials accepted at this site are:
Used motor oil
Electronics are also accepted at the HHW Facility on the days listed above, or by appointment. Call 704-920-3280.
Computer Monitors have a $5.00 disposal fee, TVs under 21 inch are $5.00, over 21 inch are $10.00.
Recyled materials such as cardboard, mixed paper, cans, glass, etc. can also be disposed of at this location.
Land Conservation Easements
Cabarrus County land owners may wish to implement a conservation easement on their property to permanently limit development of the land. As a result, land is preserved in a natural state or as farmland. Tax benefits may be realized by implementing a conservation easement.
A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement that allows a landowner to maintain property ownership while restricting certain types of development, and can be a useful tool in protecting land. To learn more about this program, please visit the Cabarrus Soil and Water Conservation District website.
The best way to control litter is for everyone to avoid littering. Littering is illegal in North Carolina, and the penalties can be fairly expensive. It is best to be mindful of litter and always dispose of trash properly. A large portion of litter that we see along roadsides inadvertently blows out of cars and trucks. Always check your vehicles to make sure trash is secured, and don't toss trash into the back of pick-up trucks where it can easily blow out.
During the Fall and Spring of each year, in concert with the NCDOT program, Concord hosts Litter Sweeps during which City coworkers work together with recognized neighborhood associations to remove litter from a number of city streets. As a result, litter removed from our roadsides does not make its way into storm drains or local bodies of water. The City of Concord encourages citizens to participate in a Litter Sweep program in your area. Please contact the Planning Department's Neighborhood Program Manager for more information, or visit the NCDOT website.
The Swat-A-Litterbug Program is an educational effort administered by the North Carolina Department of Transportation Office of Beautification Programs. Let NCDOT know when a person is littering along the roadways by by contacting the Office of Beautification Programs through the Swat-A-Litterbug process.
Pick-up Litter on Property
Of course, litter is not just found along the roadways. It may also be found on the property where you live or work. Whether you live in a single-family residence, an apartment complex, or a condominium, it is great idea to look around your property, pick up litter, and dispose of it properly.
Annual Big Sweep
Each October, City coworkers and local volunteers work together to remove trash, debris and obstructions from local streams. Please contact the Stormwater Department for information on how to participate or volunteer in this program.
The three R's of recycling are Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The City of Concord encourages citizens to recycle as much as possible. The City will be enhancing its recycling program beginning July 5, 2011. A larger variety of items will be collected for recycling. This will help keep a larger volume of waste from entering landfills, thereby extending the life of landfills and reusing material that would otherwise be regarded as trash. To learn more about the City's recycling program and other solid waste collection services, please visit the City's recycling program page.
Reducing our consumption is another way to help the environment. Americans live in an economy that is based on a large amount of consumption. However, Americans are learning that continual consumption is not good for the environment, or our wallets. When we purchase a product and finish using it, we may throw it in the trash. But, tossing an item in the trash does not make it go away. Material never actually goes away, it is just moved from one location to another. Sometimes, we can save money, and help the environment, by only purchasing things we actually need. For the things we do purchase, it is helpful to determine prior to the actual purchase if the item is recycleable. This practice can help you to recycle a larger volume of material. In addition, finding ways to reuse or repurpose items can help reduce consumption, which, in turn, helps improve our environment.
Stream and Waterbody Protection
The City of Concord's Development Ordinance requires that streams and waterbodies be protected with an undisturbed buffer. The width of the buffer is at least 50 feet, and can be as much as 120 feet. The exact buffer distance is calculated using a formula. The average slope of terrain perpendicular to the stream is calculated within a distance of 250 feet from the center of the stream. The resulting average slope is multiplied by four. This number is then added to the 50 foot buffer to determine the total undisturbed buffer. On top of that, a 20 foot vegetated setback is added. Therefore, the total protective buffer plus setback is between 70 and 140 feet from the top of the stream bank. Activities within this protective buffer are extremely limited. Please refer to the Article 4 of the Development Ordinance for further information.
The City of Concord's Development Ordinance has established two watershed protection districts. These districts are designed to protect the quality of the City's drinking water supply. Properties lying within a Watershed Protection Overlay District are subject to a set of special requirements. State law requires cities to create these types of protection districts. In Concord, there is a district to protect the Coddle Creek Reservoir (Lake Howell), and another to protect Lake Concord. These districts appear on the City's Official Zoning Map.
Wetlands are areas of land where the soil is saturated with moisture permanently or seasonally. Wetlands typically include swamps, marshes, and bogs. They may also be areas that do not have any standing water, but the vegetative species living in the area indicate that the area is indeed wetland. The United States Clean Water Act protects wetlands from being disturbed. Wetlands serve an important purpose in storing, filtering, and cleaning water, as well as providing habitats for rare animal and plant life. It is important to not disturb wetlands. If wetlands exist on a parcel of land, it is important to determine the actual boundary of the wetland. The City's Planning Department can help with that process. In some cases, it is necessary for the Army Corp of Engineers to visit the site and make a determination of where the wetland boundaries are located. To learn more about wetland regulation, please visit the Army Corp of Engineers web sites listed below.