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Dredging Alternative: Hydro-raking to Increase Stormwater Pond Depth

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jul 31, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Emily Walsh, Environmental Scientist

Mechanical hydro-rakingAs communities continue to expand and infrastructure is heightened, stormwater management is becoming a crucial element in neighborhood planning. Oftentimes, community developers incorporate stormwater retention ponds into their plans to help control runoff during significant rain events. Retention or stormwater ponds look similar to natural ponds, except that their major function is to reduce the risk of flooding as well as filter collected pollutants.

Urban runoff is led to the pond through a series of stormwater drains leading to underground pipes. The majority of the water is then left within the stormwater BMP, allowing suspended particulates to settle and pollutants to break down through microbial activity and plant uptake. The water is then slowly released from an outflow pipe, positioned higher than the inflow pipe, to a nearby waterbody or stream. This has proven to be an efficient technique, with a detectable decrease in pollutants shown and a natural outflow rate achieved.

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Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Stormwater BMPs

Stormwater Management: Key Points to Passing an Inspection

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jul 10, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Trent Nelson, Aquatic Specialist

Stormwater ManagementStormwater management facilities are man-made structures that help reduce flooding, slow down water flow and clean pollutants from water. It is important to ensure that your stormwater management facilities are functioning properly, especially when it rains.

Stormwater inspections can vary depending on the state and even municipality in which your stormwater BMP or stormwater control measure (SCM) resides and with newer legislation, strengthened by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, compliance is critical for many property owners and managers. Most inspections follow similar guidelines when determining whether or not the stormwater system is in compliance. The following are a few important key points to help you prepare—and hopefully pass—your next stormwater inspection.

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Topics: Regulatory Compliance, Stormwater BMPs

Pond Management: Keys to Prevention and Early Detection

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 21, 2016

Written by Industry Expert, J. Wesley Allen, Environmental Scientist and Territory Leader

Cody_checking_effluent_structure_Linded_Point_Richmond_VA_Brent_W_10.15_e-1.jpgThe comparison I use most often when trying to explain routine lake or pond maintenance and management to people that are unfamiliar is performing maintenance on your car. Your car needs oil changes, tire rotations, and other routine maintenance activities in order to operate correctly. If you ignore these items for too long, and you are looking at a hefty bill or prematurely replacing the car entirely. Performing regular maintenance on your aquatic resource is important and whether that resource is a lake, pond, or stormwater facility, maintenance is the key to avoiding nasty surprises. In aquatic management, an ounce of prevention is often worth a ton of cure. That is why when developing a pond management plan, a comprehensive approach that establishes a routine frequency of inspections and addresses regular maintenance needs is key.

When SOLitude Lake Management typically begins to work with a client on a management and maintenance program, we stress clear communication. Establishing contacts with all concerned parties is essential to cultivating a successful relationship. With proper communication channels, understanding routine maintenance and responding to any problems is much easier, saving both time and money.

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Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Stormwater BMPs

Taking it Back to the Basics: Stormwater Management Pond Parts

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Apr 22, 2016

AS SEEN IN Land and Water Magazine, March/April 2016: Written by Industry Expert, J. Wesley Allen, Environmental Scientist & Territory Leader

Stormwater Management Pond Parts ArticleExperienced water quality management professionals spend years meeting with hundreds of individuals, homeowner’s associations, commercial facilities and property managers. The largest challenge to overcome is educating the waterbody owner or manager. Stormwater management rules and regulations are a fairly new phenomenon, developed from the Clean Water Act. While certain regulations continue to evolve in stormwater management, educating any potential or current client on a stormwater facility’s function and specific design elements or parts is important. An educated client will be equipped to understand and implement a sustainable maintenance and management program or a repair/remediation program for their community, property or commercial site.

Today, more and more stormwater management is implemented with a variety of best management practices (BMPs), such as infiltration basins, bio-infiltration areas, bio-swales and rain gardens. However, there are still large numbers of stormwater management “wet” ponds/retention basins and “dry” ponds/detention basins. These ponds are designed to hold water, capture sediment and pollutants and then release the water slowly to mimic run-off from the site prior to any development. Most of these “ponds” or basins have similar basic parts. Explaining these parts or design elements, why they are there, how they function and how they should be maintained, is an important step to developing a mutual understanding with a client before moving forward with a maintenance or repair program.

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Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Stormwater BMPs

Winter Safety Tips From a Pond Management Expert

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 12, 2016

Written by Industry Expert, Gavin Ferris, Ecologist 

Fountain_through_ice_3HP_Otterbine_PhillyPA_02.15_GavinF_e.jpgMy cousins, brother, and I watched the old Farmall tractor putter out onto the ice. When it stopped at the center of the farm pond, my uncle climbed down from the seat, walked around, and jumped up and down in a few places. He then struck the ice several times with a golf club, returned to the tractor, and drove back off of the ice. Having supported the weight of the farm tractor and my uncle’s frame, and having withstood the savage blows he rained upon it, the ice was declared to be safe and we were allowed to start skating. I never did ask how he planned to get the tractor out of the pond if the ice had given way.

Venturing onto a frozen body of water is a dangerous enterprise, and should only be attempted when the ice is known to be thick, strong and solid. Even then, it is imperative to consider liability issues, emergency plans and preparation. Right now, we are seeing temperatures that are colder than usual. As a result, many ponds that usually freeze only lightly, if at all, now have a thick layer of ice over their surfaces. This may seem like an ideal time for neighborhood skating parties and impromptu outdoor hockey games, but I urge you to take extreme caution and think carefully before you let people out onto the ice.

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Topics: Seasonal Pond Tips, Stormwater BMPs

Stormwater Management Pond Parts

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 25, 2015

Written by Industry Expert, J. Wesley Allen, Environmental Scientist

Aquamaster_5hp_Classic_Biscayne_Laurel_Park_Concord_NC_Matt_P_eStormwater management rules and regulations were formalized in the 1990’s, developing from the Clean Water Act. While a lot of things have changed and continue to change in stormwater management, being informed on what your stormwater pond is designed to do and what its design elements, or parts, are, is key to understanding and implementing a sustainable maintenance and pond management program for your community, property, or commercial facility.

Today, more and more stormwater management is done with a variety of Best Management Practices (BMPs), such as infiltration basins, bio-infiltration areas, bio-swales, and rain gardens, but we still see a large number of stormwater management “wet” ponds or “dry” detention basins. These ponds are designed to hold water, capture sediment and pollutants, and then release the water slowly to mimic run-off from the site before development. These ponds not only function as stormwater management facilities, but are often designed as key features in communities. Most of these ponds have similar basic parts:

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Topics: Stormwater BMPs

Stormwater Pond Restoration

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 11, 2015

AS SEEN IN Quorumtm, a publication of Washington Metropolitan Chapter, Community Associations Institute: Written by Industry Expert Shannon Junior, Aquatic Ecologist, SOLitude Lake Management

Stormwater_Pond_Restoration_Junior_cLike all physical features of our communities, stormwater management facilities require ongoing maintenance to preserve their structural, functional, and aesthetic integrity. These features are designed to mitigate flooding hazards, as well as to remove sediment, nutrients, and other pollutants from stormwater runoff to protect downstream water resources. Their very function contributes to their impairment as these materials build up within the basins. Even when they are well maintained and functioning properly, stormwater management facilities will require periodic restoration activities that can be extremely expensive.

If you have a stormwater management facility in your community, it is important to ensure that copies of the design and/or as-built plans are available. These documents contain essential information regarding the original grading and depth contours of the facility, the configuration and elevation of the outlet structure and normal pool water level, and the location of inlet structures to the pond. The maintenance agreement for the facility should also be on file, which outlines the specific maintenance responsibilities of the community. If the homeowners association does not have copies of these documents, they can be obtained from the site engineer or developer, or from the city or county stormwater regulatory agency.

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Topics: Published Articles, Stormwater BMPs

Lake and Stormwater Management Trends

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   May 26, 2015

AS SEEN IN Quorum, Washington Metropolitan Chapter, Community Associations InstituteWritten by Industry Expert Shannon Junior, Aquatic Ecologist, SOLitude Lake Management

01.15_Quorom_Lake_Stormwater_Management_Page_1_ShannonJunior_eAs our urban and suburban landscapes become more densely populated, it is inevitable that the amount of impervious drainage area is increasing, thus contributing to increase flow rates and larger volumes of stormwater runoff. As the runoff flows over impervious surfaces, it picks up numerous pollutants such as sediment, nutrients, oil and grease, litter, heavy metals and pesticides, which adversely affect the water quality and habitat value of downstream aquatic resources. The Clean Water Act (CWA) was passed in 1972 to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of our nation's waters and it is the primary Federal law that regulates water pollution in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency expanded the CWA in 1987 to require that municipalities obtain permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for the discharge of stormwater runoff. Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) were established, which are the maximum amount of pollutants that a water body can safely receive while still meeting water quality standards. The implementation and ongoing maintenance of stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) have become critical not only for compliance with TMDLs, but also to reduce erosion and mitigate flood damage.

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Topics: Stormwater BMPs

Advantages of Stormwater Inspections for Lakes and Ponds

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jan 11, 2013

advantages of stormwater inspectionsOwners of lakes or ponds, whether for residential or commercial purposes, can benefit from annual inspections performed by a reputable lake management company. Thorough inspections that look into water quality, pest control, and the health of the surrounding environment prove beneficial in maintaining the landscape surrounding any body of water in that they help the property owner determine the cost of future enhancements and treatments. Anticipation of problems like erosion, for example, allow for actions that could save money in the long run. Stormwater inspections especially help in identifying problems that, if left ignored, could damage the ecosystem.

After a lengthy rain or hard storm, your first inclination may be to check your property for changes in the soil or debris that requires removal. Over time, rains can contribute to erosion and damage to beneficial vegetation that should be fixed before problems become too much to handle. If rains result in higher water levels than is normal for your property, there is the possibility an outflow device used to maintain balance is faulty and requires repair.

Inspections of lakes and ponds after bad weather, or at regular intervals, will alert you to anomalies on your property. If your grounds are not mowed properly, for example, it could lead to problems with ground cover such as soil erosion and issues with vegetation growth. It's also important for your lake management team to check structures that control water release from your lake or pond to ensure that there is nothing clogging the system.

A proactive approach to such inspections is the best way to determine improvements to your pond water. A stagnant body of water is likely to attract pests and pose damage to surrounding vegetation and aquatic life. After a storm, if nothing is done to clean the area you will find more challenges in restoring your lake to its true beauty.
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Topics: Stormwater BMPs

What Is The Purpose Of Stormwater Ponds?

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Nov 29, 2012

By Industry Expert Kyle Finerfrock, Environmental Scientist

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Stormwater ponds are designed to be catch basins for developed areas. Stormwater ponds collect rainwater that run over impermeable surfaces such as parking lots, roads, and buildings. In undeveloped areas rainwater can be absorbed into the soil, taken up by trees and plants or flow into rivers, streams or wetlands naturally. The daily activities of people cause pollutants to collect on impermeable surfaces and get washed into waterways during rain events. These pollutants include dirt, oil, fertilizers, yard waste and litter. Pollutants can be harmful to habitats and wildlife downstream if they are allowed into the ecosystem. With stormwater ponds in place, rainwater can collect, sediment and pollutants can settle out before being released back into the watershed.

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Topics: Stormwater BMPs

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