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Effective Stormwater Management Practices

Effective Stormwater Management - Inspector
Cynthia Cline
Cynthia Cline
April 1, 2022

Effective stormwater management is not a luxury, it’s a necessity to protect public and private property and citizens from floods or uncontrolled and potentially damaging flows of stormwater. A well-maintained stormwater system can avoid costly repairs and potential liability, among many other issues.

To effectively manage stormwater flow, stormwater management systems large, small, and everywhere in between need to have regular maintenance over time to ensure they stay in good working order. Many issues can be eliminated by engaging in preventative inspections and a regular maintenance program.

Without adequate maintenance, various components of the system could experience failure. A stormwater management system in disrepair could lead to burst pipelines, contaminated drinking water, and backflowing in sewers. It could also contribute to erosion and allow toxic pollutants to travel into water bodies, which has severe, negative impacts on water quality and conditions for aquatic life.

Factoring in a few tips can lead to much more effective stormwater management over time. Read on to see how these tips can help.

TIP: Perform Stormwater Management System Preventative Maintenance

Drainage cleaning

Preventative maintenance involves Identifying and fixing potential problems or issues with the stormwater management system before they happen. Even the best-designed and executed stormwater management system can fail if not properly maintained.

Best practices for stormwater management include inspecting the system regularly to discover any leaks, cracks, clogs, or other issues that could cause a system failure. A program of preventative maintenance typically involves inspecting water quality treatment devices, stormwater detention areas, catch basins, and other devices in the system. For example, without adequate and timely maintenance, debris, trash, organic matter, and sediment can quickly clog up storm drains, making them useless.

Practicing preventative maintenance means potential problems get resolved before they become bigger and cause more damage or expense. This strategy helps minimize exposure to public safety issues, property damage, negative water quality impacts, insurance issues, and violation of mandatory standards or regulations.

In some cases, maintenance means that a system needs updates and improvements to its design. This could include adding or increasing Bioretention areas and reducing impermeable areas. The process could involve integrating additional low-impact development (LID) ideas that increase the quality of stormwater management by using nature to manage and treat stormwater as close as possible to its source.

What Does Preventative Stormwater System Maintenance Involve?

The preventative maintenance process could be as simple as surveying the system and performing basic maintenance procedures such as clearing out trash, debris, and organic matter from stormwater control devices, and confirming that the system is ready to handle upcoming storms.

In some cases, Homeowner Associations (HOAs), cities, municipalities, and other entities tasked with managing a stormwater system do not necessarily have the expertise in-house to effectively assess their stormwater system.

In this case, a service provider, such as CatchAll Environmental, can provide the experienced personnel to inspect, assess, and if needed rework or repair the existing stormwater management system before problems arise.

Tip: Perform Regular System Inspections

Engineer inspecting the site

A system inspection could identify potential violations or problems that need resolution through repairs, system redesign, or added devices.

Schedule regular inspections of the entire system twice each year. If the system has just been put into operation or has undergone major changes or enhancements, inspect it after every major storm for the first three months, then transition to twice-yearly inspections.

If staffing changes or other issues result in inadequate maintenance, consider hiring a firm to perform the inspection. This can dramatically reduce the risk of unexpected issues such as flooding and resulting damages, citations for non-compliance, and other issues stemming from inadequately maintaining the system.

Using a service provider to perform a system-wide inspection also serves as a good test run for government or insurance company inspections.

Benefits of Regular Preventative Maintenance

When a stormwater system functions properly it protects the surrounding areas from floods and related water damage. Even simple systems such as basic landscaped areas, when properly maintained, can move stormwater to safer places for management. Regular maintenance procedures such as mowing, erosion control, trash, debris, and vegetation removal keep the system features in top working condition, ready for storm season.

A properly maintained system also plays an important part in pretreating stormwater as it flows through, to protect water quality by removing toxic substances and debris that could pollute lakes, streams, rivers, and the ocean.

TIP: Stay on Top of Regulatory Changes

Inspector

Water quality and disaster-prevention codes can potentially change on a regular basis, requiring constant vigilance to keep in compliance on both a local and federal level. Regular inspections by knowledgeable staff can reveal potential issues that need to be remedied to get or stay in compliance before a regulatory inspector arrives on the scene.

Stormwater System Futureproofing

CatchAll Environmental’s team of professionals stays abreast of all regulatory codes and changes as they take place. This process enables the company’s team to verify through inspection whether a stormwater management system has, or is at risk of, falling out of either local or federal compliance.

Call CatchAll Environmental to see how our team can help with inspections, compliance, maintenance, repairs, and so much more.