Developer upset about ‘mucky mess’ in Tonbo Meadow wetland


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Once a fully functioning wetland at Tonbo Meadow in Wilmington, now a “mucky mess” as big rains cause mud from a ditch along Greenville Loop Road to flow into it.

City crews had recently cleaned the ditch of vegetation and debris to curb flooding risk in the area.

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Developer Pamela Fasse says the wetland won’t work like it’s supposed to and she is not happy.

“When you fill up a wetland with mud, with erosion, it renders it useless, so it’s a non-functioning wetland. It has to be redone. That’s very expensive, and it’s sad, because the wetland plants thrive and get better and better as they continue to grow,” said Fasse.

Wetlands serve as a natural way to clean stormwater before it gets to bigger waterways. Tonbo Meadow’s wetland drains into Hewlett’s Creek.

Fasse blames the City of Wilmington for what happened. She and Tonbo Meadow’s homeowners hope for a solution.

“I, as a developer, I keep the development until all of the houses are completely built, and then I turn it over to the homeowners association. For them to accept a stormwater system like this, they need reassurance that this is not gonna continue to happen,” said Fasse.

City of Wilmington spokeswoman Malissa Talbert says the city supports environmentally-friendly developments like Tonbo Meadow.

“This property is unique, and really, kudos to the developer for not taking the easy way out and just running a pipe for stormwater runoff,” said Talbert.

She says city engineers are looking into what happened and if the city should be on the hook to help fix the wetland.

“We want to try to work with our property owners, as best we can, to do the right thing,” said Talbert.

Fasse estimates it would cost tens of thousands of dollars to return the wetland to a system fit to clean stormwater. She hopes the city will step up to help if it was at fault.