Low Impact Development (LID) has been all the rage in stormwater design lately. Implementing rain gardens, pervious pavement, and bio-retention swales into site stormwater design is almost a must in many jurisdictions, at least in Washington State, the epicenter of all things stormwater. Low impact means low impact to the natural order of things, the natural drainage patterns. It means trying to mimic the drainage patterns of an undeveloped site as much as possible when designing a stormwater system to serve the developed site. How does this translate to stormwater maintenance once the site is complete?
Marketing Fluff or Real Results?
Here at CatchAll Environmental, we think we have found the absolute best way to keep your stormwater costs as low as possible. We use the Catch-All® Storm Drain Maintenance Insert, inserted in your catch basins, so that keeping the storm inlets free of sediment and pollution is as inexpensive as it can be. Then, by keeping the catch basins clean, the whole downstream system, including the more expensive stormwater features, stays cleaner longer. But does the whole approach work or is it just a marketing scam?
Stormwater suffers from the “Outta sight, outta mind” issue. Once it’s gone from my view, it’s gone, right? Of course we know that is incorrect. Its disappearance from the pavement into a conveyance system is really just the start of the earthbound portion of its cyclical life. Let’s take a look at the various ways that stormwater may be headed once it leaves your site.
We have a growing problem in stormwater, and by that I mean a problem regarding things that grow. Our stormwater ponds, places where water is impounded either permanently, as in the case of a water quality pond, or temporarily, in the case of a detention pond, are a natural breeding ground for plants and trees. Those plants remove vital stormwater volume from the facility, leaving less volume for the function of the pond.
In recent conversations with various people in the stormwater world, I have been bringing up a question. The question I have been asking is, "if we were to find funding ear-marked for stormwater pollution, where and how should we apply the money?" The answer is typically something along the lines of "more technology." We live in an age where we are enamored of technology - our phone, our computers, our self-driving cars. I love it, too, but there is a problem with this answer.
Jeff McInnis is an engineer who knew there had to be a better way to help owners keep their systems in compliance.